UFC lightweight champion BJ Penn is fresh off a dominating performance against Kenny Florian at UFC 101, and is in the midst of a much deserved vacation. However, don’t expect to see him out of action too long as he knows the clock may be ticking on his illustrious career.
“I’m just going all by feel right now,” Penn told the Hawaii Tribune. “If you had asked me this five years ago, I would have said, for sure, I’m going to be doing this when I’m 40. But now, I’m just playing it by ear. I’m not ruling it out. We’ll just see how it goes.”
In terms of most professional sports, Penn is lingering around the age when most athletes hit their prime, however it sounds like he’s set to walk away in a couple of years considering the amount of miles his 155-pound body has accumulated.
“I’m 30 now and I’m hoping to get a couple of more fights in. I know they say that in MMA, people peak later, but who knows?” Penn said. “My whole career, fighting from age 20 to 30, I’ve gotten into real good shape and gotten out of shape and started getting back into shape again.
“I don’t want to do that anymore. Here I am. I’m in shape. I want to have fun for a couple of days, take some time off, eat some good food, and then I want to get right back into all that stuff.”
The “stuff” that’s up next for Penn appears to be 155-pound top contender Diego Sanchez. According to “The Ultimate Fighter 1” winner, UFC brass have already promised him the next shot at the Hawaiian’s strap.
A sentiment that “The Prodigy” didn’t disagree with as he shared his thoughts on his potential third title defense.
“It’s gonna happen, hopefully within the next two, two-and-a-half months,” Penn said of when he’d like to make his Octagon return. “He’s really good; he’s really explosive. He’s shown that he has some knockout power and he’s a very good grappler. He’s very hungry; he’s shown that he wants to be a champion someday. This is an important fight.”
Another important fight for Penn before he hangs up his MMA gloves is a third dance with UFC welterweight stud Georges St-Pierre.
Although GSP defeated Penn in both of their scraps, neither ended without controversy as the French-Canadian took a razor-thin split decision in their first meeting at UFC 58 in 2006, then dominated Penn in their highly anticipated re-match at UFC 94 this past January, only to have that W tainted with accusations of illegally greasing up with Vaseline.
“I’d like to get a fight with St-Pierre again,” Penn said in closing. “But now that Diego Sanchez is [probably] next, once we get the word from Dana White, that’s what we’re gonna be thinkin’ about.”