There’s never been any love lost between BJ Penn and Tri-Star Gym. From BJ’s battles with current UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre to his last go round in the Octagon with Rory MacDonald at UFC on Fox 5 this past December. BJ even mentioned to us on BJPenn.Com Radio in November that one of the reasons he decided to take the fight against MacDonald was to try and gain a measure of revenge against Firas Zahabi and his crew.
BJ also made sure to let us know it wasn’t anything personal, he just wanted to show them they had yet to see the best BJ Penn. Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned and the much bigger, much younger and more athletic MacDonald handed Penn a very one-sided unanimous decision loss. It’s a loss that has many people wondering if we have seen the last of the former two-division UFC champion inside the Octagon.
Zahabi is well respected and trains some of the greatest fighters in the sport today. When he speaks people generally tend to listen to what he has to say. The 32-year-old Montreal native joined us on BJPenn.Com Radio last night and we asked him what he thought about BJ and a potential return to the lightweight division.
“I think he’s a phenomenal fighter, I think he has a lot that he can still do,” Zahabi said. “I really think he can be where he used to be. I think he can make it back there. I’d love for him to come to Tri-Star and train with us and see what we do. We can have an exchange of ideas and how we could mutually benefit from such an experience. I really think he has a lot left in him, but that’s up to him. He has nothing to prove, he’s done everything in this sport and if he fights it’s for his own personal enjoyment and I would encourage him. If he doesn’t want to fight I don’t think he has anything to prove, he’s done it all so it’s really up to him and what he feels he wants to do.”
Listen to it for yourself and determine whether or not he is being sincere or if it would make sense for BJ to take a trip north and talk shop with Zahabi. One thing for sure is the majority of MMA fans and his fellow fighters aren’t ready to see BJ hang up his gloves just yet. Regardless of what he decides his place in MMA history is cemented and he will always be a legend.
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