By Roberto Mattos:
The entire MMA world has come down with a strange feeling of ennui. Tapout flags across the world have been flying at half-mast. Die-hard MMA fans have been seen crying uncontrollably in a fetal position.
No, this isn’t because Brock Lesnar is back in the WWE, or because Tito Ortiz may be joining him. You might want to sit down for this one… BJ Penn is sticking to retirement, for now. I know, I know- it hurts me as well, but it might be for the best.
In an interview that took place during the UFC on Fuel TV 2 post fight show, Penn was quoted as saying, “I haven’t made any plans to come back and fight again. Dana White has actually called me a couple times and talked to me. It’s just something that’s not in my future right now.”
The last time we saw Penn in the octagon was when he took on Nick Diaz at UFC 137. After the loss Penn announced his retirement saying, “This is probably the last time you’re ever going to see me in here. I want to perform at the top level… I’ve got a daughter; another daughter on the way. I don’t want to go home looking like this. I’m done.”
Adrenaline and emotions are running high on fight night, and after a hard fought battle (especially a loss), any career-altering announcement should be taken with a grain of salt. But with a few months to let the idea of retirement sink in, Penn is still sticking with it, transitioning to the role of teacher/trainer as smoothly as a sweep from the rubber guard. “I’ve just been kind of teaching and training, I like it,” Penn said. “Just go to the gym. When I feel like training, I train. And if not, I watch my daughters. That’s all I do.”
It’s not that he doesn’t think there’s any competition out there for him. It’s quite the opposite, actually. “There’s tons of match-ups out there. There’s great athletes. The UFC is the best athletes in the world, but I don’t know. In a perfect world, I can’t even see the scenario right now this moment. It’s just something that if I feel it, I feel it, and if not we’ll just sit back and watch all the other guys kick butt in the Octagon,”
So while his fans will always rally for his return, it seems that for now the Prodigy is content passing on his wealth of MMA knowledge to those lucky enough to train at his gym and raising his two daughters. Hard to blame him, it sounds like a pretty sweet gig, especially when compared to being punched in the face.
Check out page two for the full unedited video interview.