B.J. Penn was unable to rewind the clock at UFC Fight Night 103 last weekend.
Penn, who returned to the Octagon after a two-year hiatus, was dismantled by a younger, faster and hungrier Yair Rodriguez at Phoenix’s Talking Stick Resort Arena on Jan. 15.
‘The Prodigy’ was beaten to the punch — or kick — in most of the exchanges and was dropped for the first time in his career in the first round. Rodriguez overwhelmed Penn with a catalogue of flashy kicks and got the TKO stoppage in the second round.
One of Penn’s former opponents, Frankie Edgar, would like to see the Hawaiian retire after losing in brutal fashion.
“It’s never my place to tell someone to retire, that’s something you have to want to do,” Edgar told TMZ in a recent interview, per Jonathan Bradley of FOX Sports. “Personally, I’d like to see BJ retire. That’s not the BJ we all fell in love with. His fighting style, the type of person he is and how he just brings it — you can tell he was kind of just a shell of himself. Father time is undefeated and that’s just what it is.”
Edgar, who beat Penn for the lightweight title in 2010 and went on to outclass the UFC Hall of Famer another two times, says the former 155 lbs and 170 lbs champion still has the warrior spirit but is lacking the physical tools to compete against today’s new crop of UFC fighters.
“The warrior is still there, his spirit is still there, it’s just his body wasn’t responding and he wasn’t doing the things he usually does. He’s probably lost a little step in his speed and you know BJ was one of the fastest out there. That was one of his biggest tools, so you take that away it’s tough.”
Edgar concluded by saying it was hard to watch Penn sustain so much punishment against Rodriguez and was yelling at referee John McCarthy to stop the fight in the second round.
“BJ is a fighter, he’s a fighter at heart — he’s been through it all, he’s seen it all. But when Yair was ground-and-pounding him at the end, I was probably yelling at the TV, ‘Stop the fight, it’s enough.’ It as a beating at the end. I think they probably could have stopped it a bit sooner. Maybe if it was another guy, I might have been fine with it. But I think it was a beating and I think it was inevitable that that was the outcome. So he maybe could have saved himself a couple punches to the face.”
Penn didn’t give a post-fight interview but it’s expected that the 16-year MMA veteran will finally hang up the gloves and call it a career. The 38-year-old is one of the most decorated fighters in the world, winning titles in two separate divisions, and earned notoriety for always challenging the best athletes in the sport, regardless of weight class.