With the huge MMA following that is now circling the globe, the main fighters are getting a lot more publicity. There are some key fighters in the sport that have accumulated some incredible records and some even more fearsome reputations. One fighter that has been a staple of MMA for quite some time now is that of B.J. Penn. B.J. Penn, also known as “the prodigy”, stands at a mere 5 feet and 9 inches and weighs in around 155.
Penn was born on December 13, 1978 in Hilo Hawaii and specializes in Boxing and Jiu-Jitsu. He began his MMA career early n his life at the age of 17 when he first started getting into the Brazilian style of Jiu-Jitsu. In 1997 he began training under Ralph Gracie and ended up getting his black belt in 2000. He ended up winning the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship as well.
B.J. Penn then went looking for bigger and better venues. He caught the attention of the UFC and president Dana White and they were able to persuade him to switch to Mixed Martial Arts. Penn’s first fight was in 2001 on May 24, and he got a victory over Joey Gilbert. He showed some promise in his stand up game and delivered some knockouts to other competitors.
The first real MMA milestone he hit was in 2004 when he won an MMA championship at UFC 46. He beat the defending champion Matt Hughes in a higher weight class, and did so with a rear naked choke. The fight only took four minutes in the first round. This garnered B.J. a lot of publicity and after a few more fights he decided that there wasn’t enough competition in the UFC and wanted to look elsewhere to find challenging competitors.
From there Penn did a short stint in the FEG, which is the Japanese Fighting and Entertainment Group. The UFC rescinded his welterweight title saying he breached contract and so he went on to take on some new opponents. In 2006 Penn agreed to a settlement with the UFC and that he would return back the league. In his return fight, he lost to Georges St. Pierre in a split decision.
The next big fight in the league was his rematch with Matt Hughes where he lost the fight once Hughes got him to the ground and pounded his face until the referee stopped the fight. After that, he then went on to be a coach for The Ultimate Fighter in 2007 and even got to rematch Jens Pulver where he won the fight with another rear naked choke.
Penn would once again challenge for the Welterweight title on Dec. 31, 2009 against Georges St. Pierre but would once again be defeated in the ring by his quickness and his takedowns. After the loss, Penn announced that he would have retired with his two belts had he won the fight. Penn has been a great fighter in the UFC and continues to show his great Jiu-Jitsu and striking skills along with quick hands and fast decision making skills.