BJ Penn to Return Later This Year
UPDATE: During the UFC 240 post-fight press conference, UFC President Dana White claims he and Penn agreed this would be Penn’s final bout in the Octagon “win, lose or draw.”
Despite all the calls for him to hang the gloves up for good, UFC Hall of Famer BJ Penn will be returning to the Octagon later this year, taking on Nik Lentz.
UFC President Dana White confirmed the news to TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter. No date or location has been announced for the fight.
BREAKING: Per @danawhite, BJ Penn will return to the octagon.
He will be facing Nik Lentz, both sides have verbally agreed.
Date and location TBD.
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) July 26, 2019
The announcement from White comes a little less than two months after comments White made prior to UFC 238, where he stated he wanted to see Penn retire for good.
Many in the MMA community share the sentiment as White’s earlier statement, feeling Penn’s legacy is getting tarnished with each new fight. Penn currently holds the record for most consecutive losses in UFC history with seven. He has not had his hand raised in the Octagon since a 21-second knockout of Matt Hughes in their UFC 123 trilogy bout and has felt nothing but defeat since a draw with Jon Fitch at UFC 127.
Penn retired after a loss to Nick Diaz at UFC 137, and then returned for a fight with Rory MacDonald at a UFC on Fox event the next year. He retired again before coaching The Ultimate Fighter alongside Frankie Edgar and losing a trilogy bout to him in July 2014. After another retirement, he returned in January 2017, getting brutally finished by Yair Rodriguez.
Penn has also been facing several legal troubles, including a domestic dispute that saw a restraining order from his girlfriend and children against him.
According to MMAJunkie, Penn and Lentz have a grudge going back to the third loss to Edgar, which Penn blamed on his former nutritionist, Mike Dolce.
After a strong start to his UFC run in 2010 and 2011, Lentz has seen mixed results since, with his last bout ending in a second-round TKO loss in a trilogy bout with Charles Oliveira at UFC Rochester two months ago.