The word legend is frequently quoted, and misused, in all sports when describing someone with an iota of talent in their chosen profession. When it comes to BJ Penn, legend is a superlative that befits a true MMA and UFC great.
This Sunday, Penn will make the walk into the octagon for the first time since a crushing TKO defeat in his third encounter with Frankie Edgar in July 2014. Following the TUF Finale defeat to Edgar, Penn once again announced his intention to retire. However, as with many fighters, Penn’s retirement/hiatus was short lived and in January 2016, The Prodigy declared that he was actively seeking a return to the octagon.
Now, it’s fair to say that the road to Sunday’s encounter with the extremely dangerous Yair Rodríguez hasn’t had its ups and downs, because it most certainly has, but when all is said and done, BJ Penn will have MMA world waiting in anticipation to see how he fairs against the aforementioned Rodriguez. With 16 main and co-main UFC events under his belt, MMA fans have always wanted to watch Penn, and despite not fighting for over 2 years, nothing has changed.
Fighting out of Chicago, 24 year old Mexican Yair ‘El Pantera’ Rodríguez is making waves in the extremely competitive featherweight division. With a professional record of 9-1 (5 straight wins in the UFC) Rodríguez is known for his wild style and will prove a tough prospect for Penn. If you enjoy seeing a barrage of kicking styles, you may want to tune in on Sunday night as chances are, you’ll see plenty from Rodríguez.
Following his sensational flying head kick KO victory over Andre Fili at UFC 197, heads are starting to turn in the direction of Rodriguez and victory over Penn in Phoenix on Sunday night, will boost the Mexican’s stock and have him edge his way up the rankings and on course for an inevitable title shot in the not so distant future.
Should Penn lose on Sunday, you would seriously have to wonder what’s next for the UFC Hall of Famer. Ultimately, Penn is a born fighter but defeat in Phoenix would put The Prodigy on a run of 4 defeats and would surely end his chapter in UFC history once and for all. I for one don’t want to see Penn made a fool of but coming up against a talented and hungry young fighter like Rodriguez could prove one fight too many for BJ Penn.