B.J. Penn, after flirting with retirement following a devastating loss to Nick Diaz at UFC 137, decided to return to the Octagon to fight rising star Rory MacDonald on the main card of the UFC on Fox 5: "Henderson vs. Diaz" event tonight (Sat., Dec. 8, 2012) at the KeyArena in Seattle, Washington.
Would we see the old, killer "Prodigy" or the seemingly disinterested, defeated Penn who left the cage late last year resolved to end his career on a low note?
At the start, the Hawaiian was super aggressive, coming out strong and pushing the pace against his much younger foe. MacDonald was game for the challenge, firing off low leg kicks and staying tight in front of B.J.
Surprisingly enough, Penn even worked his grappling game, pushing "Ares" against the fence and grabbing a few lame takedowns. The much bigger MacDonald always reversed, though, and simply used his muscle to maneuver Penn how he wanted him.
Towards the end of the opening frame, Rory tagged B.J. with an elbow that wobbled him, though the finish didn't come. The message, however, was clear. The Canadian wunderkind wasn't here to reaffirm anyone's legacy.
That theme continued at the start of the second. MacDonald attacked with a variety of offense, the most devastating of which was a hard kick to the body that had Penn doubled over in obvious pain. The assault continued while "The Prodigy" offered little defense and even less offense.
Put simply, Penn looked like a live punching bag.
MacDonald had plenty of opportunity to finish B.J. off but never did so. In fact, he grabbed a late takedown and stayed in guard to end the round, a baffling strategy but one that only looked to further delay the inevitable.
Penn answered the call for the third and final round, looking like he caught some wind but not nearly enough to really compete in a bout he had been getting owned in.
Sure enough, MacDonald did his thing and got to the judges scorecards, where he easily won a unanimous decision by scores of 30-26, 30-26, and 30-27. Mike Goldberg called it a potential changing of the guard.
Do you agree? Is B.J. Penn done in MMA?
For complete UFC on Fox 5 results and coverage of the entire event click here.