In just a few hours, the return of one of the most popular fighters ever to put on a pair of 4oz gloves makes his return tonight after a two-and-a-half-year retirement from MMA. B.J. Penn is looking to make one more title run, this time at 145lbs, and it all starts with the young lion in front of him, Yair Rodriguez.
It’s hard not to be a fan of Penn, and thousands upon thousands of devoted fans share that sentiment. He’s competed at lightweight all the way up to heavyweight, has never been submitted and can jump out of a pool with a single, vertical leap. “Baby Jay” has a multitude of distinctions that warrants him entry on many a pound-for-pound list, but we’ll just let UFC welterweight favorite Ben Saunders tell you why the Hawaiian is his personal pick for GOAT (greatest of all time).
“Bottom line is, no one has done what that man has done. Conor McGregor has done some fantastic and amazing things that can never be questioned or doubted, things that might never be done again, but what BJ has done in his career, these are things nobody else has done.
We’ve got a man that won a title at 155, then went up and won another one at 170. A man that went all the way up—JESUS CHRIST—he’s fighting at 145 pounds, but he fought Lyoto Machida—one of the baddest men on the planet—at heavyweight, for God’s sake! I mean, no one’s doing that. Conor is not going to go up to heavyweight and fight there. It’s not going to happen. We’re never going to see it.
We’ll probably never see anyone do what he’s done, at the level he’s done it and the caliber he’s done it, ever again. I’m sorry Ronda, but he is a once in an ever competitor. He’s a once in a lifetime. I don’t think we’ll ever see someone do what he’s done again.
You could also say that because he’s one of the pioneers and because he hit the sport so young—and while the sport was young as well—he was able to make these accomplishments and go out and do all these incredible things. Nowadays, the sport is so crazy as far as everyone evolving and the skillset level being so high, that anybody at 155, 170 or even 145 going up to fight an elite heavyweight is never going to happen, and if it did, they’d get absolutely slaughtered, and we’d see why it shouldn’t be happening, as opposed to B.J. actually putting on a competitive fight with Lyoto.
The guy comes to scrap every time. You know, he’s got phenomenal jiu-jitsu, he’s super flexible and his dexterity…he uses his legs like arms. There’s just so much about him that I looked up to, so much about him that inspired me. That’s why for me, he is and always will be the GOAT.”
You can listen to this excellent interview HERE at the 55:35 mark or via the embedded player below. Remember, if you're looking for us on SoundCloud or iTunes, we're under the MMA Nation name. Follow our Twitter accounts: Stephie Haynes, Three Amigos Podcast, George Lockhart, Iain Kiddand Mookie Alexander or our Facebook fan page, Three Amigos Pod.
You can watch Ben take on Court McGee tonight on the main FS1 card and you can watch B.J. Penn in his return, just two fights after Ben’s, in the main event, live from Phoenix, AZ.