After having the longest layoff of his career, UFC Hall-of-Famer B.J. Penn badly lost his comeback fight against Mexican star Yair Rodriguez. Many long time fans found it hard to watch as the notoriously tough 38-year-old was knocked down for the first time in his legendary career, then subsequently finished in a one-sided bout.
According to his coach Jason Parillo, he would’ve preferred to see Penn against a lower ranked fighter instead, but “BJ’s gonna go in that cage with me or without me.” So they just pushed on and hired sparring partners to mimic Rodriguez, and Parillo states that Penn was actually performing very well in training.
“We had Bruce Leeroy, Alex Caceres who had a split decision loss with Yair and a very similar style, very similar flash and all that athletic ability. BJ must have sparred three or four weeks with this kid and he was doing really well with him,” Parillo told Submission Radio. “You know, really well and winning most rounds and even getting him in submissions and you know what BJ does, taking backs and choking you.
“And if you ask, he was looking good. He was really looking good. He was in there with some good sparring, good training, good conditioning,” he said. “It’s just that at the end of the day, the closest you can simulate a fight is sparring, but next to that is the fighting. And having that long of a layoff with a kid with reflexes like a cat, I mean it was a tough deal and BJ felt that out there.”
Parillo attributes the loss to ring rust, and facing such a high caliber guy after that time off.
“Before he walked into the fight, he goes, ‘Jason I feel good. Like, normally I’m worried about the way I feel. I feel amazing’. And again, you can’t simulate time and you can’t simulate distance. You can’t simulate a quick, young 24-year-old kid. You can do as much as you can in sparring.
“I’m gonna say it over and over again and reiterate it, but rust is real,” he continued. “And I’ve heard fighters in the past say, ‘there’s no such as thing as ring rust’. Well bullshit. Maybe not for you, tough guy, but it’s there – especially when you haven’t had success leading up to that ring rust. BJ Penn’s the only guy I know that hasn’t won a fight since 2010 and they’ll give him a main event fight against the number four guy in the division, or whatever. Do you see a lot of guys getting that opportunity? No, you don’t. But they know he’ll do it. They know he won’t say no and they know he will take on everybody.”
Penn’s coach states that he will try to make his longtime friend consider hanging up the gloves for good, but isn’t quite sure if he would listen.
“I’m gonna encourage him to think about doing something else. But I do not see, you know — the promotion has to say no to him before he says he doesn’t want to fight again. It would be my guess.
“If he fights again, I want it to be (against) a 38-year-old man, lost his last couple of fights,” Parillo said. “But who knows what BJ’s gonna do. Whatever he does I’m gonna support him, and if everybody around him and if I see him in the gym and it looks like he wants to fight again and it looks like he shouldn’t, of course I’ll be recommending that he doesn’t. But if I say, “no, don’t fight anymore”, BJ’s just gonna go off and go somewhere else.”