BJ Penn is not ready for this feeling to end. Should the former two-weight-class champion be victorious tonight at UFC 237 against Clay Guida, that should open the door for him to continue to cling on to the thrill of competing even longer:
“Nothing will ever, ever duplicate the feeling of stepping into the Octagon for me ever again,” Penn told UFC.com. “Nothing will ever come close. We can go do a bunch of things, we can go skydiving, we can go fly around in a jet or other things that people do and say that was amazing, that was awesome but, for me, nothing will ever replace this.”
What adds to the high is the altitude in competing in Brazil, a sacred place for MMA and against an opponent that BJ Penn respects:
“The opportunity to fight in Brazil, I couldn’t turn it down, especially in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,” Penn said. “I could not turn that down and I made it happen. We’re here. We trained hard, we prepared and got ready and I’m ready.”
“I respect Clay a lot. Clay has been around the game forever. It’s a perfect time and a perfect opponent for Rio.”
Competing alone is an honor for BJ Penn. But to do be able to do it at 40 years old in a sacred location against a respected opponent is truly special. And there is a very specific ending that would end the night with a cherry for the legend:
“Saturday night, winning by rear naked choke would be very, very nice,” Penn said. “To do it in the home of jiu-jitsu would mean a lot.”
What do you think are the odds BJ Penn is able to earn a rear-naked choke finish at UFC 237?