clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

BJ Penn Hall of Fame induction provides fitting end to storied UFC career

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

The term "warrior" can be overused in mixed martial arts (MMA).

As Josh Barnett stated in an interview with HOV MMA, there are more athletes than fighters now. They attempt to choose their opponents based on rankings or best paydays. Some fighters will even turn down fights because it's not good for their brand.

BJ Penn demonstrated the exact opposite of these traits. He was the epitome of a fighter and more specifically, a warrior.

Not many fighters have decided to come out of retirement twice. No fighter can claim to have come out of retirement to fight at welterweight followed by fighting at featherweight two years later. "The Prodigy" wouldn't turn down fights and would look for the most demanding challenges possible. Whether it was trying to get over the Frankie Edgar losses or settling a grudge with Rory MacDonald, Penn would come to fight, regardless of being completely out of his element.

Penn also made his fair share of mistakes.

The third defeat to Edgar was arguably the most lopsided main event in UFC history. He was arrested last January for fracturing his friend's left eye socket at a bar in Hawaii. As Penn said in an interview with Hawaii News Now, "Towards the end of my career, I didn't have as many happy days in my career."

That couldn't have been more evident.

The disappointing past year was finally changed. It was announced that Penn would be inducted into the UFC Hall Of Fame as part of this week's "International Fight Week." This is a well-deserved achievement for arguably the most popular lighter-weight fighter of all time. His achievements are endless from being a multi-divisional UFC champion to having the most finishes in UFC lightweight history.

Don't let the 16-10-2 record change your outlook of his career. MMA is a sport, where legacies aren't completely made from an overall fighter's record. All it takes is having a distinctive personality, memorable fights, and devastating finishes.

Fighters with average records like Mark Hunt and Tito Ortiz can concur with those attributes.

Penn can now focus on being a full-time father, although may still play a role within UFC. Hawaii has been pushing hard for a UFC event and that may come to fruition by 2016. With the emergence of featherweight and fellow Hawaiian Max Holloway, all it may take is more interviews from Penn to keep pushing for an event.

As MMAmania's own Adam Gullien explained, "Penn should hold his head high as a pioneer of the sport. He was there before the big paychecks, blue-chip sponsors, and world-wide exposure ever existed."

It didn't take any witty trash talk or two-minute promos to attract people to watch him fight for any event. His heart, will, and determination made him into an icon. We will probably never witness such a unique success story like this ever again.

"The Prodigy" truly lived up to his moniker and will always be respected by everyone within the MMA community.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania