If you don’t know by now, BJ Penn is planning to make his return to the UFC. I am a huge BJ Penn fan, but I think he needs to stay retired for obvious reasons. First off, Penn hasn’t won a fight since 2010, when he defeated Matt Hughes. Since then, he fought to a draw with Jon Fitch and has lost to Nick Diaz, Rory MacDonald, and Frankie Edgar. Obviously these opponents are no slouches, but this shows that Penn is past his prime. He wasn’t even very competitive in his last three fights. In fact, his last fight against Frankie Edgar was, in my opinion, the worst performance of his career. Penn coming out of retirement doesn’t make very much sense. Whatever weight class he chooses to compete in will not be significantly impacted by his presence.
Penn is no longer young. The 37 year old has a ton of mileage on him. Like I said before, his last three fights have not even been competitive. Matching him up against a mid-level fighter would provide some entertainment, but would only tarnish his legacy. He continues to try and fight even though he is past his expiration date. I know people like to talk about hi “warrior spirit”, but sometimes you have to save a fighter from himself. Apparently, no one is telling Penn that he shouldn’t fight anymore. He really needs to re-evaluate his friends and training partners.
The last reason is his health. CTE is a very real danger for any athlete involved in a sport that includes blows to the head. It is only a matter of time before more and more cases pop up in MMA fighters. The NFL has already had trouble with this, and they have attempted to change their rules, grudgingly, to make the sport of football safer. Obviously no rule changes will happen in MMA. When you consider all the mileage and damage Penn has withstood, it makes you wonder what his future holds. In his last three fights alone, BJ Penn has absorbed around 384 total strikes. Now, obviously not every strike is to the head, but you can bet that a lot of them are. I understand that BJ Penn still wants to fight, but sometimes you have to weigh the positives and negatives. I’m not dogging on Penn, I just don’t think it is the wisest decision for him to come out of retirement.