Former two division UFC champion BJ Penn returned to the octagon for a lightweight fight with Clay Guida at Saturday’s UFC 237 event in Rio.
After a good opening round for ‘The Prodigy’, Guida was able to turn the tide later in round two. ‘The Carpenter’ went on to get off the better volume of strikes in round three and was thus awarded a unanimous decision victory over Penn (29-28 x2, 29-27) after fifteen minutes of action.
BJ Penn spoke with his website earlier this evening where he discussed his recent loss to Clay Guida.
“Clay (Guida) came in great shape like we expected. He didn’t go for many takedowns. He was able to land some good punches and some hard kicks. I thought it was a good fight, he got the better of round three. But I honestly felt better than I have in a while out there. I was able to find him with my punches. It was a good scrap.”
BJ Penn was asked to give an assessment of his fight camp, which was spent at home in Hilo, in preparation for his fight at UFC 237.
“The camp was good. I emulated a bunch of the training from my most previous camp in Brazil.”
Penn had Diego Sanchez, Jason Parillo, Rob Emerson, among others come out to Hawaii to help him train for Clay Guida.
The UFC Hall Of Famer had undergone his most previous fight camp in Brazil with long time coach Dede Pederneiras.
I asked Penn whether his ongoing custody battle played a factor in his decision to have the fight camp in Hilo.
“It was a no brainer for me to stay back in Hawaii and train for the fight while I deal with the custody case. It was actually great, I have my daughters with me for a few days each week. They inspire me to be my best. I am their provider and I want to train hard and win for them. So it was great motivation.”
It was noted on social media that BJ had declined to do interviews in the lead up to his UFC 237 fight with ‘The Carpenter’. I asked Penn if there was any truth to those claims.
“I was there to focus on the fight. That is why I am giving you this interview now, because the fight is over with. It wasn’t and it isn’t in the best interest of my children to be talking about the custody case, so I only did interviews with outlets requesting to discuss my fight with Guida.”
MMAJunkie was allegedly one outlet who Penn turned down for an interview. I asked him if there was a specific reason for why he declined that particular request.
“I’m not new to the business and I was there to answer questions about my upcoming fight with Clay Guida for the UFC. If I am going to do an interview about things outside of fighting, I will do that with my own website, BJPENN.com, the fighters voice. I don’t want to get into any specifics, but I don’t have much faith in the guys over at MMAJunkie. I would rather just not conduct business with them.”
When I asked BJ what, if anything, is next in regards to his fighting career.
“Right now I’m just returning to Hilo. Once I am back we will focus on the custody case and then figure out what will come next.”
Penn’s most recent loss dropped his record to 16-14-2 overall. The Hawaiian legend has gone winless in his past seven octagon appearances. With that, many fans and analysts have urged BJ to retire for the betterment of his health. Penn assured me that he still feels perfectly capable of competition, this despite not having a won a fight since UFC 123.
“I know I am on a losing streak. I think they said it is the longest in UFC history or something. But that being said, I am not going out there and getting knocked unconscious. There are ton of guys, who would be considered in their prime, who still get knocked out cold – even this past weekend. I still feel good and the desire to compete is still there. It was a good scrap with Clay, who is a really tough fight for anybody at 155. You know what they say Chris, Babe Ruth set a record for most strikeouts too right.” BJ said with a laugh. “But in all seriousness, I do this because I love it. Anderson Silva said it best. Never feel sorry for the Lion, because the Lion doesn’t feel sorry for himself when he is surrounded by a bunch of Hyenas ready to die.”
For my own peace of mind, I asked Bj about the allegations associated with the custody case. His former partner had made claims about the former champion which included physical abuse.
“I would never do anything to hurt a girl. Growing up I was never taught anything like that. My Father never did anything like that to my Mother. Women are soft and cuddly little creatures, that is what my father always told me growing up.” BJ Penn said. “I have two girls myself, and I can’t imagine how I would feel if someone ever hurt them. You know, despite everything that’s gone on, I wish Shea nothing but the best. We have been separated for a while now. She is actually married and expecting a child in the next few months. All I can say is that I wish her all the best.”
This story appeared on BJPENN.com May 13, 2019