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Thursday, 11/03/2011, 11:51 am

Is Penn's "Time Off" a wise move? One Journalist Says "Yes"

B.J. Penn’s Decision To Take Time Off Is A Wise One
Author: Jeremy Botter

Penn’s sabbatical from fighting will ensure his return in 2012

B.J. Penn retired on Saturday night. Or maybe he didn’t.

Issuing a concrete declaration on your future is a tough thing to do, and it’s even more difficult when you do so after taking the kind of beating Penn received from Nick Diaz.

Penn is an emotional man. Always has been. He wears his heart on his sleeve, especially at the conclusion of fights that don’t really go his way. We saw evidence of this after he fought to a draw with Jon Fitch at UFC 127 earlier this year. Depressed and noncommittal about his future in the cage, Penn changed his mind just hours later after the adrenaline wore off and the emotions subsided.

Penn seemingly called it quits after losing to Diaz. His face a bloody wreck, Penn told Joe Rogan that it was “probably” the last time we’d see him in the cage and said that he didn’t want to go home to his children with a battered face. Not again, anyway. The bewildered audience didn’t quite know what to make of Penn’s proclamation. The truth is that Penn probably didn’t, either.

Retirement wasn’t something he’d been considering as he prepared to face Diaz – it was a spur of the moment statement from someone who had been bested by a better fighter. Where Mirko Cro Cop considered retirement a foregone conclusion going into his bout with Roy Nelson, Penn simply let his emotions get the better of him.

Two days later, Penn isn’t quite so resolute about spending the rest of his days on the stunning beaches of Hilo. In a statement posted to his official website on Monday afternoon, Penn said he’s going to take some time off before considering a permanent decision.

“I want to thank all the fans for their love and support,” Penn said. “I have decided to take some time off to enjoy life, train and teach. I will keep you guys posted with what’s next.”

Regardless of what he ultimately chooses to do, Penn is making a good decision in allowing himself time to fully consider the implications of retirement. Fighters shouldn’t call it quits after losing; there’s simply too much emotional baggage, too many clouds getting in the way of good decision-making. They spend months with a singular focus on defeating one person, and the emotional letdown when things don’t go their way is enormous. Losing sucks, and you’re allowed to be upset, but you surely can’t be expected to make rational decisions.

The smart money is on Penn returning to the Octagon at some point in 2012. You don’t take fights from lightweight all the way to heavyweight without having a burning fire for competition. You can’t get that satisfaction from walking the streets of Hilo and educating a future crop of jiujitsu artists.

He’ll be back. We don’t know when, we don’t know where and we don’t know what weight class he’ll settle into. But we haven’t seen the last of B.J. Penn in the Octagon.

I’m sure of it, even if he isn’t.


23 Responses to “Is Penn's "Time Off" a wise move? One Journalist Says "Yes"”

  1. Mana Kaleilani Caceres says:

    Much love going out to brotha BJ! As always, we stand beside you.

  2. MMA Scholar says:

    Awesome man…don’t retire BJ. My advice is to get back to lightweight where you can fight dudes that aren’t a full weight class above you. And do something about those later rounds dude – call Randy C. – he’s a machine for endurance! You’re too young and waaayyy too talented to consider retirement at this point.

  3. Yaleufc says:

    Penn wud beat Diaz 9 out of ten times. That was Diaz any givin Sunday. Penn eye was like that cuz he injured his eye prior to 137.

    • BJ Penn Fan says:

      Look… I love BJ. But we gotta stop making excuses and accept that he lost. Thats his whole thing, JUST SCRAP. I heart he broke his hand in the second round, he had a cut before the fight, he had to eat to make weight… etc. Bottom line is he didn’t win the fight. I believe he can be Diaz too, but he didn’t. I hope he takes the time off to heal his body, clear his mind and find his way. B/C I truly believe BJ is the best, he just hasn’t shown it yet. I hope he comes back and redefines his legacy and the greatest ever.

  4. Dustin says:

    Loosing to a runner in Edgar and a much longer fighter in Diaz is not really a big deal. Bj showed more heart than I may have ever seen in the octogon in that third round.

  5. shawn says:

    BJ move back down to 155 and clean house !!

  6. stix says:

    I wouldn’t say he was “bested by a better fighter”… he was bested by a bigger fighter who’s also an outstanding fighter in addition. I’m a huge Diaz fan too and you can’t hold it against him or take anything away from him if BJ decides to move up to WW especially since he didn’t even want the Penn fight, and I also don’t want to use it an excuse every time he loses at WW cause it’s like, well then fight at LW.. BUT..

    if BJ were 6’1 190lbs w/ a 76″ reach or Nick was 5’9 165lbs w/ a 70″ reach, I really don’t see that fight going the same way.. and people just assuming that it means Diaz will destroy GSP now are being a bit foolish. I really hope he does but I wouldn’t bet on it.

    Diaz didn’t have much to offer in the first round when Penn had a full tank. once BJ began to tire from fighting Nick off the cage and in the clinch and carrying his weight he was looking like he was carrying a sack of rocks on his back and his arms were gaining weight by the minute, and then Nick was able to start getting off and using his reach advantage to stay out of range.

    BJ looked like he was fighting someone a full weight class above him, cause he was. he needs to be at LW. he didn’t gas in the Sherk, Florian, Diego or Edgar fights which all went late rounds or a full 5, but he wears out early in the GSP, Fitch and Diaz fights. it’s not a coincidence. add something in like breaking your hand at the start of round 2 and you’re just that much deeper in the hole. a broken hand is much easier to fight through and deal with when fighting someone your size like Florian or Diego, against someone the size Diaz or GSP, not so much. take some time off and get back to LW!

  7. Coffee409 says:

    I have said it all along; BJ does NOT belong at 170… He’s just not big enough.

  8. Jay Unidos says:

    BJ has always beat himself when you get down to it. He’s lost to great fighters, but many of us don’t believe he’s ever been beat down in a fight where he was in top shape and properly prepared for his opponent. In the end none of that matters because fight careers are short, and records stand long after anyone is around to argue about them. That said, BJ Penn is a 2 division UFC champion, first American to win the Mundials, blackbelt in BJJ in 3 years! The list goes on, and it feels weird over analyzing an athlete who has done things most of us could never do, no matter how hard we trained.

  9. RJ KANEAO says:

    He needs a much deserved rest. For the last few years I’ve seen this man “pedal to the metal” constant traveling all over the globe. But whatever decision he makes I’m sure we all stand behind him.. And you’re right, I think we’ll be hearing from him when the time is right.. And where he goes is totally his option! Good job on this report..

  10. lance says:

    BJ is one of the best ever. Even today. An in shape and very well conditioned BJ Penn can beat any LW or WW (even GSP). Though BJ sit might have the fire to compete he has lacked the fire to train and condition himself. If BJ is willing to get in top condition like the elite fighters (and I hope to God he does) he should fight again. If he is NOT willing he need to hang them up. I wasn’t that Diaz is a better fighter it’s just that BJ gassed out.

  11. Aaron says:

    BJ went the distance or beat GSP, Hughes, Fitch, and Diaz.

    Four of the most dominant ww’s EVER. And probably most dominant we will ever see.

    And he did it weighing at least 15 pounds lighter if not 20+!

    I hope he comes back at lw and takes the belt. After that I wouldn’t even mind seeing him take one more run at ww. Who cares if he loses a #1 contender or Championship bout. He isn’t supposed to be able to win those fights, but he can and does.

    How many lw could break top 10 in ww?? And speaking of that how is BJ not in the top 10 when he drew (i think won) against fitch, and went the distance with Diaz. By that rationale he is top 5 ww in my book. but whatever!

  12. BJ Shock Factor says:

    I believe BJ has a “Shock Factor” attached to him as a fighter. What I mean by this is BJ begins to lose a fight in people’s minds once he looks tired or his face gets marked up or he gets taken down. It is because they don’t see it to often with BJ so when they do it puts them in this shock factor that he must be losing the fight. A perfect example would be some of his last fights and commentary. Joe Rogan has the most shock factor because he screams it all over the screen to the point all of BJ’s offense is overlooked. When he was fighting Frankie all you heard was “oh my god he took BJ down no one’s ever done that to BJ.” Against Diaz all you heard is “BJ has never been busted up like this” the whole fight. Go back and watch both fights again. Yeah he might have lost but they were a lot closer than when watching it with the commentary. Turn Joe Rogan off and watch the fights. BJ went 5 rounds the 2nd fight and barely got outpointed. Against Diaz, yeah he got busted up but did anyone see Diaz’s face. No one commented on Diaz’s face being busted up and by a 5 9″ lightweight. Diaz couldn’t even knock down BJ. BJ’s boxing was a lot crisper than Diaz and that was proof in the first round. Look cardio is only a problem to BJ when he is fighting heavier bigger guys. he needs to stay at lightweight or cut down to feather and win a title in 3 weight classes. Cardio is a technique and if BJ would focus on that technique he would be invisible. You want proof..when have you ever seen BJ lose the first round of any fight. BJ find you the most scientific, innovative, cardiovascular trainers out there and focus on that during your time off. It will also allow your body to heal and rebuild.

  13. walleye says:

    This man put on a technical stand up battle and I was impressed with BJ’s performance. I don’t know who else would have survived a toe to toe stand up war like we saw that night. They are both warriors.Even though BJ has cemented his legacy, he is not done yet!

  14. ThaGreenBandit says:

    Link up with Cesar Gracie and come back stronger than ever

  15. BJ Penne alla Vodka says:

    he deserves a good off. only fighter to lose the championship and then fight two of the best people in the weight class above. serious statement. still, i really hope this isn’t his last time fighting. even his entrance is so damn entertaining!

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