It was only a matter of time, but it happened Saturday night during UFC 187. Former lightweight and welterweight champion BJ Penn (pictured) will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame under the Modern Era wing.
“It is our honor to induct BJ Penn into the UFC Hall of Fame. He was one of those stars who helped build the UFC,” said UFC president Dana White. “When we bought this company, we were told no-one cared about lightweights. BJ Penn not only made people care, he was one of the biggest draws in UFC history. And what he accomplished inside the Octagon speaks for itself – he is one of only two people to win two UFC titles in two different divisions and he beat a who’s who of his era. He is a legend and a no-brainer for the UFC Hall of Fame.”
Penn completes the UFC Hall of Fame class of 2015. It was previously announced Bas Rutten will enter the Pioneer Era wing, former UFC commentator Jeff Blatnick makes the “Contributors” wing, and Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg II joins the “Fight” wing.
Earlier this month, the UFC decided to change their Hall of Fame structure to include Modern era, Pioneers era, Contributors and Fight wings instead of just fighters (and one contributor).
“The Prodigy” ended his career with a 16-10-2 record after a July’s lopsided TKO defeat to Frankie Edgar. Penn lost five of his last seven fights, including three straight.
However, those numbers don’t do Penn’s career justice. He is one of two fighters in UFC history to win titles in two different weight classes. Penn is also considered by most pundits as the greatest 155-pounder MMA has ever witnessed.
Penn also was the first lighter-weight fighter to establish himself as a legitimate pay-per-view draw.
The 2015 UFC Hall of Fame class will be inducted July 11 during the UFC Fan Expo in Las Vegas.