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Coach questions UFC for Penn-Rodriguez matchup: ‘Give us a 35-year-old guy’

B.J. Penn’s striking coach Jason Parillo was not happy about the UFC’s decision to match his fighter up against Yair Rodriguez.

B.J. Penn’s return to the UFC on Sunday turned out to be an unattractive sight to behold. The man who once dominated the scene in the early 2000s was being handily beaten by up-and-comer Yair Rodriguez, which led to a second round stoppage.

Many fans had high hopes for “The Prodigy’s” return, despite some doubts about him being matched up against a talented and versatile striker such as Rodriguez. But for his striking coach Jason Parillo, it was a bad idea from the get-go.

“Wouldn’t it be nice for a matchmaker to call up B.J. Penn when he says he wants to come back after a two-and-a-half-year layoff, hasn’t won since 2010 and say, ‘hey man, we want you to come back. Yeah, we’d love to give you a fight. And let’s give you whoever – Joe Bloggs,’ it doesn’t matter, give us a 35-year-old guy,” Parillo told Submission Radio. “The guy won two world titles, he’s done everything for the company, he’s never said no to any fights, he’s made himself and the company plenty of money.”

“It’d be nice to kind of get the opportunity to shake off a little rust and put B.J. in there with a guy that, you know, he’s got a better chance than a four-and-a-half to one. Four-and-a-half to one is a pretty big spread.”

"B.J. 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,” Parillo continued. “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.”

“He prefers to fight the top ten guys. I mean, I would’ve loved to be the guy to be able to pick the fight, but that’s not my job and that’s not my position. But I would’ve loved to have been that guy, I’ll tell you that much.”

Penn was initially matched up with the likes of Dennis Siver and Cole Miller, only for both fights to fall through. For Parillo, these fights could have been the chance for Penn to have his shining moment back.

“Those are the fights that I want to see right now. That’s where we can really see if B.J. has a chance to come back,” Parillo said. “You can’t…he got in there with a 24-year-old kid that’s all cylinders are firing and he’s just got confidence and he knows the promotion’s promoting him and he knows they want to invest some years into this kid because we know he’s got a lot of talent.”

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