MMA News

Tuesday, 05/08/2012, 07:24 am

Penn Discusses Melendez Fight Offer; Return to Octagon

By Adam Conklin:

BJ Penn has been on the fence lately about returning to the UFC and has most recently expressed interest in joining the 170 pound weight division if he was to return at all.

Here, in an interview with The MMA Hour, and brought to us by, Penn talks about his discussions with Dana White on possibly moving to Strikeforce to fight lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez for the title in a fight that Penn claims, just wouldn’t make sense. Whether or not Penn will return is still up for debate, however, Penn has always been a fierce competitor who loves a good fight and would be a challenge for anyone in the UFC welterweight division.

These days, in a stacked welterweight division, it would be a fight fans nirvana to see a legend like Penn enter the Octagon to compete with the top welterweights and make another run for the coveted welterweight title.

“It was right after the Nick Diaz fight. He offered me a fight against Gilbert Melendez in Strikeforce. We sat down, we thought about it for a little while and we fought back and forth and it was kind of one of those things where I guess at the end of the day we just thought about it a thousand different ways and we were like, is it downgrading yourself fighting in Strikeforce and if you win the Strikeforce title people are going to say you did it because you couldn’t win the UFC title? We just kind of thought about it a thousand different ways and at the end of the day it just didn’t make sense to us.”

“I’m not really excited to jump right into a training camp right now. Me and Dana sat down and Dana said, “I see a lot of stuff and you saying you don’t want to fight anymore.” Me and him just kind of talked and just did a bunch of kind of hypothetical back-and-forth and that was it. I know Dana wants me to fight again a when I go to a lot of different places, I think subconsciously maybe sometimes, fighters, we only seize to fight to regain energy to fight again. I do get pumped up about it when I go to different places and people say, “Come on you got to fight again, you gotta fight again.” I don’t know, I’m enjoying training right now and you never know what the future holds. I mean if Dana put something together and says, “Hey, you want to do this?” You never know what could happen. Being a competitor, you always have that itch. What it is, is that it’s tough. The training camps are tough going and through that and going through the different things and all the different personalities you gotta deal with over time. I mean, I still look at some of the guys up there and, of course, being a competitor I think to myself, “I can beat that guy or I can do well with that guy.” It’s just a tough question and I can’t give any solid question (answer) either way right now.”
Just the fact that Penn is having such discussions is a positive thing to hear for fans of Penn as a ‘maybe’ isn’t a ‘no’, and even though Penn enjoys his semi-retirement, training in his native Hawaii, Penn belongs in the Octagon for as long as he has blood in his veins.

Credit: The MMA Hour


66 Responses to “Penn Discusses Melendez Fight Offer; Return to Octagon”

  1. Rory MacDonald says:

    you’re way too good for strikeforce

  2. E716 says:

    That would have been good fight but i dont see ehy they wouldnt bring gil to ufc to fight bj

  3. Night-Wind says:

    E716, Dana said something like “he’s in strikeforce and that’s it” or something like that.

  4. Night-Wind says:

    For BJ, there is tons of other fights than Melendez. Maybe Nate Diaz or so.

  5. Damnu says:

    Fight Gil win the title AND THEN FINALLY UNIFY the belts with penn fighting the UFC lw champ an go out as the G. O. A. T!

  6. Night-Wind says:

    For interim title.

  7. Peterbeater says:

    He better train somewhere other than Hawaii if he comes back. He rarely shows up in great shape, too many “yes men” around B.J.


    god i would love to see bj return,,,warr my fav fighter ever

  9. J bird says:

    Perfect fight for bj would be jose aldo at lw, aldo has talked abt movin up to lw and they both walk around at close to the same weight.

  10. Jay Unidos says:

    The best part of the MMA Hour interview took place at the beginning when Ariel had BJ and Renzo on at the same time. That was an awesome moment. After that it was pretty much the same stuff BJ has been saying in every interview, mainly that he doesn’t feel motivated enough to take any fights at this time. It’s cool that he cleared the air about the fight with Gil because Dana has a way of making it seem like BJ is turning down more than he’s really offering sometimes.

  11. BASHWON says:

    I dont think Penn wouldve ever fight Aldo. They’re both Nova União members. Right?

  12. BASHWON says:

    Damnit, typo… ***fought

  13. John says:

    Bj has been my favorite fighter for some time and I would really love to see him compete again. That being said I would PREFER it be in the UFC so nobody could bash him for underachieving. He has always struggled with cardio issues but at lightweight even when he looked slower than Edgar cardio was not an issue. He should come back and compete in lightweight against someone tough then make a run for the title. Welterweight is great but he often looks undersized and has trouble adjusting to the cardio output of certain guys in that division. Bj you are the man and I don’t want to see you retire on a loss!

  14. Ed says:

    When Diaz gets off his suspension I would love to see BJ get another shot at him! BJ please train with tha Marinovich brothers for next fight.

    • saiasaka says:

      I agree he was really impressive against Diego Sanchez; in a good shape that men can beat everyone and that on 3 or 4 different weight classes; look at his fight against Machida; he go to the decision with a light-heavyweight/heavyweight and he’s a lightweight….
      I hope he come back soon !

  15. cheesetoochalk says:

    Bottom line is that the best Penn is at lightweight not welterweight. It forces him to train really hard and get into good fight shape. He needs to do the strength and conditioning with the guys he was working with back in Cali. If he does that Melendez would be in A LOT of trouble.

  16. Jb says:

    I agree, he should train main land and get in really great form. When he’s in top shape he’s a scary fighter.

  17. T.Daddy says:

    Comeback BJ!

  18. Kingron84 says:

    You know your pretty good when Hendricks team names the takedown defense move they wanted him to do with Koscheck as the BJ Penn Takedown defense move.

  19. Devon says:

    Penn had the most success at LW. Thats where i would like to see him but when fighters get older its alot harder to cut weight and that might be part of Penns problems! I would pay to see Penn vs Melendez even in SF. If Penn did go to SF it should be a 1 fight contract for the fans and after he beats Gil he should return to UFC!

  20. Coffee409 says:

    BJ shouldn’t come back… He has no place in the ww division and it sounds like he’s no longer willing to put in the work that is required to fight at 155. Hang up the gloves for good.

  21. BJC says:

    As much as I like Bj he just doesn’t have the moxy to compete at w.w anymore.Maybe at 55 but look how bad he got smashed by Diaz

  22. John M says:

    I’m all for BJ coming back but why at 170? He always showed up with better cardio at 155.

  23. Jeremy A says:

    Fight Rory take him or John Hathaway to school they would try to lay on you for win,

  24. ganjaneerUSMC says:

    Everyone that talks about being to small for welterweight is full of it. He ran through hughes twice, 3 times if he cared about cardio, and I personally feel like he won a decision against machida at heavyweight (machida-225 that fight) And until machida lost, he was the most elusive fighter and striker ufc had ever seen, and little ole bj put all kinds of good shots all over that dude. Bjs only prob is giving a shit. What fight has be lost a first round? If I can remember correctly none. His cardio is a problem cuz he doesn’t care, he fights cuz he wants to, not cuz he needs money. With that said, if your doing something for fun vs doing it for the livelyhood of family and yourself, the one doing it for fun isn’t gonna be as motivated to train day in and day out. If bj had a serious reason to fight, I think anyone he fights would be in trouble. Hate to say it, he’s one of my favs, but I get mad everytime he fights cuz you see brilliance for a round against top competition, then its almost like, ok I jacked you up for a round, now I’m done. And cardio is one thing you can work on easily w proper motivation and training. Can’t train crazy unhuman dextarity. But yea at this point in his career I don’t see anymore motivation coming his way, he’s a family man now, bjs not past his prime age wise, but mentally I think he’s checked out and done fighting, especially at an elite level, which for abyone who’s followed his career, knows is the only level he needs to be fighting on.

  25. Mick says:

    BJ’s my favorite fighter ever but why 170 mannnn? you used to compete in bjj at like 147lbs you can make featherweight to be honest, 155 or 145 is where you should be, lay off the big kahuna burgers!

  26. BJ Is the Laziest Fighter EVER! says:

    Amazing how many nuthuggers here still believe BJ can still fight. The man is and always be lazy. His accomplishments were great and he did it at a time when MMA was still lacking a great amount of competition. C’mon, the guy wants to fight at 170 because he doesn’t want to put in the work to make 155 which is his natural fighting weight. No doubt that when BJ trains hard he is unstoppable, but who really wants to watch BJ comeback if he’s only able to effectively fight 1 round? BJ is the most naturally talented fighter ever and he wasted it away!

  27. John says:

    I love the man as a fighter but he sounds like a guy who’s done. He’s never been fully into the training thing and when he lost that urge after the brutality in the last fight he had I dont blame him for wanting out. To suggest he fight in Strikeforce should be offensive to him. He shouldnt accept it regardless but to suggest strikeforce is to ask Kobe Bryant to go play in the D-league

  28. ljguy956 says:

    Bj should fight nate to see if he’s ready for a title shot

  29. The Diaz bros like it in the butt says:

    Have a UFC PPV in Hawaii and I bet he’ll have a reason to fight!

  30. A.James says:

    The only person in the light weight division who can give BJ problems is Edgar. But it’s not like Edgar subbed or KOed BJ. He just out pointed him with his speedy take downs keeping Penn off balance. I’m a big Ben Henderson fan but, Im confident that BJ would take the belt from Bendo. Melendez would be a great fight for BJ to comeback for. It would also give Strikeforce a HUGE jump in ratings equaling more money for everyone involved. There’s too much to say “no” to if BJ decides not to fight Melendez. I’d have to buy tickets to the event and fly to where it is I need to fly to to watch his return. Make this shit happen!

  31. Ninja Oreo Dollop says:

    I’d like to see BJ come back at 155lb or 145lb. My only concern if he comes back to 170, is his gas tank. He’s very skilled and can handle almost anyone in the these three divisions but if he were to lose, it would most likely be by decision because of his conditioning.

    Get somebody new to work with you on your conditioning BJ.

    • slacker says:

      Unfortunately, I have to agree about him fighting at 170 lbs. He just doesn’t have the cardio. We have 3 solid examples to draw on: GSP, Fitch, and Diaz. I know he has big dreams and goals of getting that WW title. But, at some point, you just have to know yourself and be honest with yourself. He may feel like he has already been there and done that with the UFC LW title. But if he did it a 2nd time?! Wow! That would be unbelievable. Especially with how it is stacked now.

      If he is really set at fighting at WW, I think Ellenberger or Hendricks would be good match – ups for him.

      • Ninja Oreo Dollop says:

        Idk.. He should bulk up or leave 170 because fighters like GSP, Hendricks, Kos, Fitch… They have to be close to 200lbs on fight night. BJ has to be 165-170 naturally and I hate to say it, not mostly muscle unfortunately in his last bout at 170. I feel like he’s struggling to make 170 by eating more instead of proper strength training. Look at his physique BJ vs Edgar 1 and his physique BJ vs Diaz. Like I said before his skills are some of the best but his body has seen better training. Also 170 is flooded with wrestlers and those are the type of guys who would beat him by decision.

        • kenji says:

          truthfully, i feel bj is goin thru what all athletes go through ….once the arena is gone …the mind takes over and they become like normal people…because when you think about it…whether its in the octogon, or the footballl field …life has a way of shutting off what made the athlete superhuman because you have to admit , athletes are really that! i would like and i say this respectively bj to rise up within himself and realize that there is life after sports! that he can become more whether it involves going back to school or getting into politics. to me, the bj’s, the liddels, the gomis, the courtures, are the catalysts that made ufc what it is today. its time to pass the torch!

        • slacker says:

          I can’t say I noticed what kind of weight he was carrying in some of his WW fights as compared to Edgar I. But yeah, the 200 lb weight is a big advantage for those other guys come fight night. He does have great skills because against each of those guys I listed, you could argue he won the 1st round in every one of those fights, except possibly the GSP II. It must be disheartening. I just don’t want to see him go out like Liddell did – losing, losing, losing. It’s embarassing and not befitting of a great champion. If I was him I would either make a serious UFC LW run, or beat Melendez’ ass and retire. I don’t see him making a run at WW.

  32. jgully29 says:

    U fight him rory u punk him or nick diaz

  33. ,., says:

    Nate is the best submission fighter at 155, Aldo vs Nate would be a terrific fight in the future if Aldo were to move up.

  34. Michael hamlin says:

    Bj is lazy as hell!!!

    • Chris says:

      Michael id like to see u do better train every day for months wth kids and a familiy then ho to fight tierd beacuse of how much work u did and how old he is id like to see u fight him and ull be the one looking tierd

  35. Mike McMack says:

    BJ is too small for 170, he would have never taken a beating like he did against Diaz had he been in the cage against a guy his own size. Maybe the haters are right in saying BJ’s lazy, or maybe he’s just tired of having to do the weight cutting after all these years? I thought that not having to cut weight helped a fighters cardio but BJ looked to be in much better overall shape in his LW fights versus his WW ones. The WW division was much different when BJ won his first belt since now a days everyone is trying to cut as much weight as possible to have the advantage over smaller opponents while BJ is looking to give them that advantage by not doing the same thing. If BJ comes back I sincerely hope it’s at LW where he’d be fighting guys his own size rather then giving up 15 pounds or so to a WW opponent.

  36. King Prodigy Levreau says:

    Live your life the way you want BJ…the G.O.A.T. I hope you are enjoying your ohana and retirement Mr. Penn. One love from the city of “NO” in central cali. WAR BJ WAR!!!

  37. Mikale says:

    Exactly. BJ does not like training, so cutting to 155 is too much effort, so he settles for fighting at 170 where he’s not in great shape and the guys he’s fighting are in great shape cutting all the way down. On fight night he’s fighting in a completely different weight class.

    For his sake, if he does choose to come back, he must get back with Marinovich and transform his body to be that big 155er on fight night. Times are changing where he cannot win with skill alone. His career is eerily similar to Fedor’s. Fedor dominated HW while being undersized and arguably somewhat outta shape. His incredible skill level allowed him to dominate, just like BJ dominated with his skills. Now the younger, hungry kids are in incredible shape and strong as hell which could be too much for an outta shape BJ to handle.

  38. Lol says:

    New camp and hire the marvinovich and hes back!!!

  39. Michael hamlin says:

    Thanks Chris I do everyday

  40. Monkey juice says:

    BeeJay is done. Just like rompage. The sport has evolved and left them behind. Sorry nut huggers.

  41. Jacob Chamblee says:

    I appreciate BJ’s warrior spirit but I wish he’d realize that he is at best, an average welterweight in 2012. Winning the WW title back in 2004 is very different that winning now. I can tell from my training everyday the disadvantage you are put in when you strike, grapple or wrestle someone who is 15-20lb heavier. He simply doesn’t have the build to deal with an elite athlete at 170lb. I have no doubt that BJ has good cardio at WW, but even the best cardio is going to be severely affected when you have a Div I caliber wrestler shooting on you or the heavier striker landing blows.

    In boxing, the weight classes are so close compared to MMA that it is possible to hold titles in multiple weight classes. But in MMA, the diverse arts make it so hard to develop the cardio to deal with these different types (grappling and striking are two VERY different types of workouts), and then you add on a 15lb weight difference between classes? Yikes!

    BJ at 155lb is the best lightweight in the world in my opinion (even including the fights with Edgar). But at the end of the day, he is not the same fighter at 170lb and his performances show.

  42. Guamy says:

    at best an averaGE WW? your an idiot bro. BJ won the title against the most dominating WW of the time matt hughes. he lost a couple and now hes just Average? stfu and go train in martial arts so you know what training is really like you punk ass bitch.

  43. jonesy says:

    SORRY..i saw only the first bit of this how bj has been talkin if he returns it will be to 170..i dont even wanna see him return to 170 ..whats the point when he will complain after the fight about how the fighter uses his size to win,,,also if he returns to 170 he is not taking his shit serious..he will return to 170 cuz he is still too lazy to stay in shape and keep his body ready for 155 like when he was best in the world…i wanna see bj at 155 in great shape like when he was with the marv bros winning the lw title or not at all…fukk bj lazy ass half assing it,,,he is cheating himself and most of all us the fans,,this guy could be still now the most dominating champ even more then anderson…if he did not get lazy abouit having work hard and let te marv bros go no doubt he still be champ now….155 for fuk off,,u cry about bigger guys usin there size to beat you so stay in your weight class baby jay

  44. wc says:

    BJ, i hope you read this! that was bs interview answer, man! titles are one thing, man, but fighting is another! at the end of the day you should be looking at the fight. Melendez is a good fighter, and that’s why you should fight him. this is your shot at fighting a top guy! who cares about the strikeforce belt?! you can toss it if you beat melendez! what would your options in ufc be? you’d have to win at least 1 (or 2) fights at ’55 or ’70 to get a title shot. that would be downgrading yourself, especially if you lose! you’ve held belts in 2 weight classes already, your legacy is cemented. you should be focused on fighting top guys now! face it, you don’t have the discipline or the hunger to hold onto the title, even if you get it, and i don’t blame you, you’ve got a loving family, you’ve got money and you live in paradise. at this point you’re being greedy by thinking titles, think about putting on entertaining fights for fans if you still love the sport. look at all those guys struggling to make ends meet while fighting!

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