UFC Hall of Famer, former welterweight and lightweight champion BJ Penn might come out of retirement to fight Nik Lentz (26-7-2, 1 NC) according to various reports. The two have been going back and forth with one another via social media and other mediums with Penn wanting to fight at UFC 197. Penn posted a picture of himself with MMA trainer Greg Jackson a few days ago, so it looks like he might be attempting to train with a real team to gauge what he has left.
The sad part is we already know the answer to that and Dana White does too.
The question is why would Penn come out of retirement to fight Lentz and why would Dana White allow it to happen?
Penn (16-10-2) hasn’t fought in nearly a year and a half, when Frank Edgar beat the brakes off him for a third round TKO stoppage. He has lost his last three fights, getting pummeled in all three of those bouts, granted, he was fighting top fighters like Edgar, Rory McDonald, and Nick Diaz. It was clear that Penn is not the same fighter he once was during those fights. He was a shell of himself and took massive amounts of damage. White has been vocal in the past about seeing fighters take beatings later in their careers and publicly stating he would have a talk with them about retiring. Penn has already retired and knows he doesn’t have it anymore. Just watch his last post-fight interview after the loss to Edgar (1:34 mark):
Is something supposed to change for Penn at age 37 and near two year layoff?
If Penn did fight Lentz and steamrolled him inside of two rounds, what would it mean? Would it mean that Penn is back as a top fighter? Not hardly. It’s a lose-lose fight for Penn regardless of how it turns out. Lentz isn’t a terrible fighter by any means, but he’s not a top fighter either. A Lentz win would simply place Penn further into the category of great fighters that hung on for entirely too long.
Stay retired BJ Penn.