After more than a decade of professional fights, current UFC featherweight BJ Penn has earned himself a place in the annuls of MMA history as one of the greatest fighters of all-time. A two-division champion, and a fighter who earned a reputation as a fight anywhere, anytime scrapper, Penn has long been a fan favorite, and one of the more polarizing figures in the sport.
After amassing a catalogue of shining accomplishments, the 35-year-old now sits on the edge of a career turning point. This Sunday, at The Ultimate Fighter Finale in Las Vegas, Penn will meet former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar for a third time.
Penn, who has lost two previous championship bouts to “The Answer” now finds himself on the brink of potential retirement, as UFC President Dana White made it clear that if the grizzled veteran were to lose to Edgar a third time, he would ask him to retire: “And I don’t think I’d have to push too hard.”
As a potential retirement match with Edgar looms, Penn is all smiles. If he is on the brink of retirement, then he’s having a hard time showing it. Earlier in the week, Penn met with media inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino to answer questions about his upcoming match with Edgar and discuss his lengthy career more in depth.
No topic was off limits as the future hall-of-famer discussed a myriad of subjects that ranged from Penn’s love for fighting; his request to avenge his two prior losses to Edgar; mistakes made earlier in his career; the slow nature of his season of The Ultimate Fighter; and his very poignant thoughts on performance enhancing drugs in mixed martial arts.
“I always wondered if it was a myth – with all this HGH and EPO stuff – and now it’s come to light that it’s there and people are actually using it, people you don’t know expect to be using it,” said the native Hawaiian. “With that said, you don’t know who is on anything. This is a sport like anything else, and for these people – although it’s straight up nothing more than stealing – the ends justify the means for these guys. Who am I to say anything?”