The last time two-division world champion B.J. Penn got a taste of victory was in 2010, when he knocked out fellow legend Matt Hughes in the first round. Since then “The Prodigy” had only accumulated a string of five bad losses, urging many fans to call for his retirement.
But the 39-year-old fighter seemingly refuses to be done just yet, and his upcoming UFC 232 opponent Ryan Hall is fully supporting the idea of keeping him in active competition.
“It’s funny how that works. But I would say, at least as far as I’m concerned, B.J. is still very, very dangerous,” Hall said on a recent episode of the MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). “And I think a lot of the people — and I’m not pointing this at anyone — but a lot of the people who look at fighting as if it’s like a Madden where, ‘Oh, I’m a 93 and you’re a 96, I’ll never outrun you. If you get it in the open field, you’re gonna win.’ The people who are not getting in the ring with him have the luxury of being a little bit dismissive. Speaking personally, that could end poorly.
“[So] I guess I would say it’s hard to tell anyone when to hang it up, and I think that when B.J. Penn wants to fight, I think you give the guy a fight. That’s my opinion. And I know very well that this person is very dangerous. And maybe, physically, of course he’s not the same person he was when he was 23, but he’s also tactically evolved. And as far as competing against me, he’s got 30 MMA fights, the vast majority of them at a very high level. I have 10 if you count The Ultimate Fighter.
“So, it balances out interestingly, but I think that also he’s being given some concessions,” he continued. “We’re fighting at ’55 — ’55 is not my weight class. So I think a lot of the things that maybe would’ve been trouble in the past, like, ‘Hey, you want to fight at 170 against Rory MacDonald right now?’ — I don’t know if that’s a great idea, but I don’t think that’s the case here.”
UFC 232 will take place on December 29th in Las Vegas. It will be headlined by the women’s featherweight title fight between Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes.