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BJ Penn responds to White’s criticisms: ‘I’m just trying to prove myself’

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The former UFC lightweight champion gave his views on Dana White’s comments about lacking motivation, as well as updates on his training and UFC return.

UFC 127:  Penn v Fitch Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

A few days ago, UFC president Dana White got caught by TMZ and asked to name the fighter he thought had showed the most talent, but least motivation over the course of their careers. His answer, which was unsurprising to some, was BJ Penn. Penn has, for years been held up as the poster boy for pure natural gifts in the UFC. Combined with his spotty record of wins and losses, he’s a fighter many feel has underachieved.

In a recent interview with khon2 news, Penn responded to White’s comments. And while fans may have expected him to give the UFC’s president of operations a piece of his mind, the former lightweight champ was pretty staid in choosing his words:

“It’s flattering and it makes you sad at the same time,” Penn responded. “It’s strange for me to talk, because it’s like one side we’re talking about this Hall-of-Fame career guy, and on the other side, I’m just trying to prove myself.

“You got to talk about two different people, two different BJs at times. It’s his opinion and he’s entitled to that, and all I can do for my side is get in there and show them,” he added. “Maybe Dana White will look back and be like, ‘You know what? Look at him now. That guy really did reach his full potential.'”

Penn also spoke about his return to MMA and his recent training as he prepares to make his return to the cage, while serving a 6-month suspension for improper IV use. Penn had been scheduled to face Cole Miller at UFC 199 on June 4th, before being removed from the card by USADA. You can check out his full interview below.