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BJ Penn Officially Ends Retirement, Aims to Make a Run at Featherweight Title

(Oh, don’t put us through this again, BJ…)

No matter how many times we say it, it appears that fewer and fewer MMA fighters are willing to abide by our ban on unretirement. The latest fighter on that list: BJ Penn.

Yes, after hinting at a union with Greg Jackson and calling out Nik Lentz last week, Penn officially announced his second unretirement on today’s MMA Hour, stating “I’m coming back for honor. I’m coming back to do this, give everything I got.”

Clearly looking to rebound from his uncharacteristically poor, career-ending performance against Frankie Edgar in July of 2014, Penn stated a desire to prove himself as an elite member of his new home, the 145 pound division, as the main reasoning for his comeback.

“I want to go get that 145-pound belt. That’s definitely a huge motivation for me,” said Penn. “I believe with Greg Jackson’s help, I can get that done. And I believe that I will be able to walk away as the only man with three titles in three weight divisions.”

A lofty aspiration to say the least, especially at 37 years old. That being said, it’s hard to argue against seeing the potential return of Motivated Penn™, which is what he appears to be. Motivated, I mean. He used that exact word right there, and is apparently placing a “pull the plug” clause into his contract with Greg Jackson to let us know how super serious he is this time around.

And I told Jackson that if I can’t do this, you let me know. You come straight to me, Greg. You see me sparring one day, you look at me and say ‘this guy don’t got it anymore,’ pull the plug right now. I got a wonderful life back in Hawaii. I love my life. But I love fighting more.

And he’s very confident that we can get something done. With somebody like that, who has so many champions himself and who has does as well as he has in this sport, when he tells me that: ‘I know you can go out and I know you can beat all these guys,’ it gives me a lot of confidence.

You know, perhaps it’s fitting that, on the very day that Penn submitted Joe Stevenson to become the UFC lightweight champion back in 2008, he begins the journey that could possibly end in him securing the featherweight title. But even as a huge fan of the guy, I simply can’t overlook the odds stacked against him here. You know, odds like:

1) Penn is 1-6-1 in his last 8 fights

2) Penn has not picked up a win since 2010 — a 13-second KO of the similarly over-the-hill Matt Hughes

3) Penn is 37 years old

4) Physically, Penn looked the worst he ever had in his featherweight debut

5) You know who the current #1 contender at featherweight is? Frankie Edgar

While both Penn and Greg Jackson are capable of doing some amazing things, I’d just hate to see the former wind up like he did after his last fight — head clasped firmly in his hands, choking back tears and openly regretting ever coming back to the sport. That was a goddamn tough moment to sit through, you guys, and I can only imagine what it was like for Penn and his family. But as is so often the case with the warriors that this sport chews up and spits out, fighting is all that Penn seems to know, and if those around him can’t stop him from competing, how can we possibly expect to?

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