In all the hoopla surrounding the UFC on Fox card, it's been easy to forget that former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn apparently announced his retirement just two weeks ago. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say. Well, Penn did a long interview with Pedro Carrasco of BJPenn.com and covered a lot of different things. It might not be all that topical in the midst of Velasquez/Dos Santos, but he does have a lot of interesting stuff to say, so here's some of it.
"You know what, me and the team have talked about this for a long time and we talked about this after the first Frankie Edgar fight. In Fighting you really get a lot of motivation and a lot of fire when you're out there trying to prove yourself and going out there being all you can be.
There's nothing else more that I like than fighting, but every once in a while you need to take some time away. As of right now I don't feel that burning desire, that burning urge to compete and I'm just going to hang out. If I feel that desire again than I will be back, but if I don't feel it than there is no reason for me to make a return.
PC: So just to be clear, you're not committing to retiring 100% but you're not yet committing to return to fighting either is that right?
BJ: "That's just the truth, I would love to fight again, I'd love to fight all these guys. Right now I don't have that burning desire to compete so as I sit down and just enjoy life, when and if that desire comes back I will be ready to fight again. I'm sure it will."
He mentions that he felt he should have taken a break after the first Frankie Edgar fight (UFC 112), but didn't. And that he had been considering retirement, or just taking some time off, ever since he worked with Marv Marinovich:
"I guess it was when I started to see how hard the training camps are to make everything work. You have so many different personalities and trying to put that whole thing together is tough and with the fight everyone thinks you should train a certain way and all the people in the camp think differently.
That, plus when you don't get the enjoyment of the success it just kind of wears on you a little bit. So it's been going on for a long time probably ever since the Marinovich's were here."
After addressing the criticisms of his cardio, he talks about the stuff that Marinovich brought to his camp and that he should start doing it again in future camps. He then moves onto another popular subject - Cesar Gracie. Gracie recently made an offer to merge camps with Penn. Penn emphatically shoots down that idea:
"I've known Cesar for awhile, whether I dislike him at certain times or not I could never stay mad at that guy. That being said, some of things Diaz has done kind of rub me the wrong way so I think I'm just going to kind of keep to myself and do my own thing.
I'm not even training for a fight anyways so there is really no reason why I would be up there right now."
PC: So that is a definite "NO", correct?
BJ: "Exactly, I'm with Nova Uniao, I've been with them since 1999 and I'm still with them today."
There is a ton more, including more detailed thoughts on Cesar and Ralph Gracie, what he's looking forward to doing with some time off, and more insight into his mindset over the past couple of years. It's a very, very detailed interview and well worth a few minutes of your time. You can check it out here.