BJ Penn is no stranger to “the underdog” roll. He has been counted out before. So before you blow the whistle on The Prodigy’s career, let’s recap who it is we’re dealing with here, as Penn is set to take on the up and coming welterweight star Rory MacDonald at UFC on Fox 5 on December 8th 2012.
BJ Penn has held both the lightweight and the Welterweight Championship belts within the UFC. He has beaten great fighters such as Matt Hughes, Diego Sanchez, and Jens Pulver. BJ Penn was also the first non-Brazilian to win the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships in the black belt division. Surely a man of such pedigree would be the favored of any fight. However watching Penn fight is like flipping a coin; you never know which BJ Penn you’re going to see.
The odds are heavily stacked against Penn (16-8-2) and not without reason. Penn has only won two of his last six fights. Just when it looked like Penn was back to his old self when he pulled off a stellar knockout of Matt Hughes in 21 seconds at UFC 123, he receives a lackluster draw in his fight against Jon Fitch (UFC 127) and a beating at the hands of Nick Diaz (UFC 137). After Penn’s loss to Diaz he announced his possible retirement. However there is one man who drove Penn from fishing, woodworking or whatever it is retired people do, to lace up the leather and step into the Octagon once more.
Rory “Ares” MacDonald (13-1-0) is a fast rising star within the UFC Welterweight division, currently coming off of an impressive TKO of Che Mills in the second round at UFC 145. With his only loss coming from Carlos Condit, MacDonald is looking to get his name tossed in the number one contender hat and a shot at the Welterweight title.
Most people see this as an easy win for MacDonald. He is the younger man, earnest and hungry. Penn has given little in some of his more recent performances to refute that. It seems that Penn is most likely past his glory days in MMA and that MacDonald will most likely do away with him in relative ease. But if that coin lands on heads and we see an internally driven BJ Penn instead, get ready for another upset.
Historically BJ Penn has not fared well at welterweight, his just 2-4-1 in the UFC and 1-3 in UFC welterweight title fights but when you’re as “the prodigy” you shouldn’t be counted out.