It would be a shock to learn a huge cfu fan who had never heard of the legendary fighter, BJ Penn. While it was hard for many MMA fans to watch him fight well past his prime, it can’t be said that what he did in his career wasn’t amazing. There are MMA fans who argue that BJ Penn helped change the way the whole world views not only the UFC but MMA as a whole.
A quick look at UFC Hall of Fame accomplishments shows how gifted he was. He not only set many records in his time, but he also won the UFC Lightweight Championship and the UFC Welterweight Championship. Many different outlets have also named Penn the Fighter of the Year over several years of his career. There is no shortage of incredible facts about BJ Penn.
ten Anderson Silva believes he is one of the greatest fighters of all time
Fans might be surprised to learn that BJ Penn received one of the highest compliments a fighter could receive from one of the greatest fighters of all time. While Penn’s biggest fans know how gifted he is, the justification Silva provided to them must have been something special.
Anderson Silva has actually stated this fact a few times, while generally being sure to acknowledge that there can probably only ever be one man who is the absolute best. Either way, few people can give a compliment as incredible as this.
9 He was the first American gold medalist at the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships
Believe it or not, there was a time when the best fighting styles in MMA weren’t so clear cut. While there was a wave of fighters that helped bring jiujutsu to the forefront of fighters’ minds, BJ Penn was one of the greatest to do so.
While Penn had actually had incredible success at the event in previous years, being the first American to win the black belt division of the competition is truly special. It’s even more impressive when fans consider that he hadn’t trained since he was young.
8 Dana White credits him for the popularity of the lighter division
BJ Penn may have lost much of his fan support as he continued to compete long after he probably should have stopped, but on his rise he was one of the biggest stars. UFC Hotties. What was surprising was that he was popular in the lightweight divisions.
Penn’s heartfelt performances against Matt Sera, Matt Hughes and even Georges St. Pierre are all fights his biggest fans remember fondly. It says so much more that he gave so much credit to what he did, even in the fights he lost.
seven He started training surprisingly late
When fans talk about their favorite MMA competitors, chances are a majority of them started training in some form at a very young age. Many of the top fighters started training as soon as they could walk, but Penn actually waited much longer to start.
Penn didn’t start training seriously until he was seventeen thanks to his neighbor at the time. Penn then fell in love with BJJ and moved to America to train with some of the greatest MMA practitioners of all time.
6 He was trained by the Gracie’s
If there’s a surname that’s synonymous with MMA, chances are most people would choose the Gracies as that name. The family is legendary in the world of MMA and even the UFC for a wide range of reasons.
After moving to the United States to pursue his BJJ dreams, Penn began working with Ralph Gracie to perfect his craft. He would eventually earn his purple belt from Ralph during his few years of training with him. A few years of training with a Gracie is sure to help anyone become a BJJ expert.
5 He is believed to be one of the fastest progressing BJJ practitioners
Anyone who has trained in any form of MMA knows that fighters don’t just progress through their belts overnight. The process of becoming a great practitioner can take some fighters several decades.
If the BJJ timeline claimed by Penn is accurate, it would mean that he managed to earn his black belt in just a few years. After winning the belt, Penn would then solidify his skills by winning the black belt division of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships. Many MMA practitioners may be shocked to learn this, but it shows just how good Penn is.
4 He wrote several books
There are plenty of fighters out there looking for other job opportunities once their best fighting days are behind them, and BJ Penn is no different. Although he continued to fight, that didn’t stop him from pursuing other interests such as writing.
While he wrote the standard autobiography that many UFC fighters tend to release at some point, Penn also released another book. He co-wrote a book to help those learning MMA called, Mixed Martial Arts: The Book of Knowledge. Although her second book didn’t make as much of a splash, her autobiography made the New York Times bestseller list.
3 He expressed interest in running for governor
There are plenty of UFC fans who love BJ Penn for both his incredible talent and his never die attitude. It looks like he may be looking to bring his incredible heart to the world of politics in the very near future.
Whether he ends up running or not, Penn has at least expressed some interest in running for governor of Hawaii. It’s not that surprising when fans remember the love and respect the fighter has for his home country, but whenever a fighter gets involved in politics, it’s bound to be a surprise. .
2 He had more than a few legal problems
More often than not, it can seem rare to find MMA fighters who don’t face legal issues throughout their careers. There are many who are die-hard Penn fans, but his story has likely turned more than a few fans away from the incredible fighter.
Although he had issues that are difficult to find details about, many of his confirmed issues stem from alcohol issues. Unfortunately, the alcohol problems seem to lead Penn to make bad decisions which result in various physical altercations with those around him.
1 He holds a special honor in the UFC rankings
Holding any type of record or accolade for a promotion like the UFC is incredibly difficult. The promotion only works with the best of the best, and most of the time the records seem unbreakable.
Penn is the only fighter in UFC history to hold the distinction of being ranked as the number one fighter in both lightweight and welterweight divisions at the same time. He managed to earn that accolade by defeating two big names in Matt Hughes and Takanori Gomi in back-to-back fights.
Derrick Lewis can do it in the Octagon, but this UFC fighter is also known for his comedic side. He’s said some very funny things over the years
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