BJ Penn has buzzing in the media after announcing he will be coming out of retirement for a run at the UFC featherweight title. Penn, a UFC Hall of Fame legend has taken a step out of the comfort of his hometown in Hilo, Hawaii and finds himself in one of the most established MMA training camps in the world at JacksonWink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Penn spoke with KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello on his plans for fighting again in the UFC.
“I want to go get that 145-pound belt,” Penn said of his goal to become the only fighter in UFC history to win championship titles in three different weight classes.
“With Greg Jackson’s help I can get that done, and I believe I will be able to walk away the only man with three titles,” Penn said. “I’m not going to lie, at this point in my life and in my career, it’s strange because I’m actually kind of nervous. I’m kind of scared. I want to go out there and put on a good performance. I don’t want to make Greg look bad. I don’t want to make myself look bad. I don’t want to make Hawaii look bad.”
While Penn has struggled with his last appearances in the Octagon, “The Prodigy” says that the people of his home state have always respected what he has done in the sport and for Hawaii.
“I just want to thank Hawaii so much for always being behind me,” Penn said. “We are here 15 years later and still behind me, everybody could be screaming ‘enough already, enough already.’ I’m sure there is that out there, but wherever I go, whenever I travel to any island, I’m always taken care of. The people always show the greatest respect and always give me the warmest of love and aloha.”
While the fans in Hawaii show aloha for the Hilo boy, Penn has made his mark in the sport of MMA. “The Prodigy” has fans around the world and will look to show everyone in 2016 that his canoe hasn’t set sail into the sunset just yet.