B.J. Penn considering a return to the cage; should he retire or take on new challenges?

Maggie Hendricks

In his last three fights, B.J. Penn is 0-2-1. He's a UFC legend, but he's also had a bad run at the end of his career. That doesn't mean he's hanging it up, though. Penn said he's considering returning to the cage as a lightweight. "UFC Tonight" reported that he wants a fight and at 155 lbs., the division he once won a championship in.

Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of challengers who are interested in facing Penn.

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Evan Dunham want to welcome him back into the cage. However, UFC president Dana White said recently he isn't in favor of Penn's return to the cage because he's taken some bad losses recently.

"I want B.J. Penn to retire," he said. " ... B.J. is too tough for his own good. B.J. might not be knocked out, but the shots B.J. took would've knocked out a normal human being. He's had his head bounced off the canvas like a basketball by Matt Hughes, by Georges St-Pierre and then Rory just did it to him. B.J. Penn has left that octagon looking like a [expletive] alien. He's too tough for his own good. You don't knock out B.J. Penn. B.J. Penn absorbs every amount of punishment you give him. It doesn't mean he hasn't been taking damage. He's taken a lot of damage, and I don't want to see him take anymore."

Retirement is one of the hardest decisions for fighters to make, and it may be harder for them than for other athletes because opportunities don't dry up the same way they do for other sports. For example, football players sometimes end up retired because they can't find a spot on an NFL team. The decision is made by their skill level.

But in MMA, there's always another fight, and every fighter wants to go out a winner. Though Penn has championship belts and memories of being a pioneer in the UFC, he also hasn't had his hand raised since 2010. Even if the UFC didn't give Penn another bout, he is a big enough draw that he would get another opportunity to fight from some promotion somewhere.

Should Penn retire? The only person who can answer that is Penn himself.

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