Five years ago this week, the MMATorch Roundtable featured staff thoughts on this topic: Will B.J. Penn’s UFC 137 loss to Nick Diaz be his final fight? The following is what the staff had to say. (And for what it’s worth, Penn has fought twice since then and had another fight recently cancelled due to injury.)
Do you think the loss to Nick Diaz will be the final fight of B.J. Penn’s career or will his retirement be short lived?
RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
There is not a chance in hell that B.J. Penn is retired. The fact that everybody is taking outcry testimony of a heartbroken man to be rote absolutely astounds me. He’ll be back in the cage by Memorial Day. I’m not ready to say goodbye!
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think B.J. will come back for at least a few more fights. He’s too young and too talented to just go off into the sunset. This could be a Barry Sanders situation, though, but I doubt it. I think B.J. is done competing against the best, but I could see him doing a couple of Legends-style fights with other UFC greats.
SHAWN ENNIS, MMATORCH SENIOR COLUMNIST
Fighter retirements are generally nonexistent, but I think this one might just stick. I wouldn’t rule out a superfight or something in the future, but I think he’s done with regular competition. From the way he talked leading up to the fight (titles aren’t the most important thing to me anymore) to what he said after the fight, it all kind of adds up. And by that I mean that Penn talked after the fight about not wanting to go home looking like he did after that fight with his kids there. That’s not saying, “I don’t have what it takes anymore,” which you can talk yourself out of. It’s not saying “I don’t have the fire anymore,” which comes back with time. Kids are a big motivator to either start, continue or stop a certain kind of behavior (I should know; I’ve got four).
ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
B.J.’s last five fights have been three losses, a draw and a knock out of a way past his prime Matt Hughes. He should retire. He is no longer able to compete at a high level in the UFC. He is a shoe in for the Hall of Fame. He is one of the top ten fighters to ever compete in the sport. From what I understand, he is financially set for the rest of his life. He has something that only a hand full of fighters will ever have. He should retire.
JAMIE PENICK, MMATORCH EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
B.J. Penn isn’t done. Whether it’s six months from now, a year from now, two years, Penn will get the itch to compete again. He was speaking out of a crushing loss in the cage last Saturday, and the emotions of that defeat were most prevalent when Joe Rogan brought the microphone to him. He’ll take some time to be with his family and recover from this loss, but when that itch hits him – whenever that may be – he’ll be back.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS 5 YRS AGO FLASHBACK ARTICLE: HYDEN: Penn’s “retirement” prompts thoughts of how good he could have been if he tried harder, Diaz leapfrogging Condit to get GSP