BJ Penn is one of the greatest fighters to ever live. He's captured two world titles in two different weight classes and put together one of the more impressive streaks in MMA history as UFC lightweight champion before losing the belt to Frankie Edgar in 2010.
However, Penn's greatness has mostly hidden the fact that he has never truly fought in his proper weight class at any point throughout his thirteen year professional career. That means for ten-plus years, Penn has taken shots to the dome from much bigger men, including more than his share of welterweights, middleweights and even heavyweights.
That wear and tear has become evident in Penn's fights over the past four years, during which he's only one won fight in six contests. Penn's last two fights - against Nick Diaz and Rory MacDonald - in 2011 and 2012, respectively - saw "The Prodigy" take brutal beatings for three rounds a piece.
Penn decided to retire. Then he came out of retirement to fight Frankie Edgar this Sunday on the finale card of The Ultimate Fighter 19.
UFC president Dana White told Fox Sports 1 that, should Penn lose to Edgar again this weekend, he will push for the fighter to retire for good. "it could be possibly watching Michael Jordan playing his last basketball game. It could be Tiger Woods' last golf game," White said.
"This could be BJ Penn's last fight, possibly. If he wins, we'll see what he does from there, but if he loses, I will actually push for him to retire."
The fight will be at 145 pounds - the first time Penn has competed in that general weight category since his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World title tournament win almost fifteen years ago, before he began his MMA career. Even still, with reports circulating that Penn is currently walking around at 150 pounds, it seems as if even featherweight is too heavy a natural class for Penn.
Regardless of weight, it would appear as if Penn only has a puncher's chance to beat Edgar. "The Answer" beat Penn twice in a row, at lightweight. In those fights, Edgar's main advantage was his speed.
Since moving down to featherweight, Edgar has only looked quicker. Do you agree with White that Penn has taken too much damage over the years to continue fighting?
Let us know in the comments section.