B.J. Penn

B.J. Penn

MMAstatsbox|name=B.J. Penn

nick=The Prodigy [http://www.sherdog.com/fightfinder/fightfinder.asp?fighterID=1307]
weight=convert|155.5|lb|kg st|abbr=on|lk=on
birthdate=birth date and age|year=1978|month=12|day=13
fightingfrom= Hilo, Hawaii
hometown= Kailua, Hawaii
fightteam=BJ Penn's MMAcite web
title=Fight Finder: B.J. Penn
fightstyle=Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
submissions=5 |

Jay Dee "B.J." Penn (born December 13, 1978 in Kailua, Hawaii) is an American professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner who is currently the Ultimate Fighting Championship Lightweight Champion.

He is the first American-born winner of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship (Mundial) in the black belt category (2000). [http://www.cbjj.com.br/resultados/2000mundial.htm] Penn is also the former UFC welterweight champion and was a coach on the "The Ultimate Fighter 5" reality show. After winning the lightweight title at UFC 80, he became the second man (after Randy Couture) to win UFC titles in two different weight classes. He is currently ranked by MMAWeekly and Sherdog as the #1 Lightweight fighter in the world. [http://www.sherdog.com/news/articles.asp?n_id=12928&my_page=6] [http://www.mmaweekly.com/absolutenm/templates/topten.asp?articleid=8&zoneid=15]


Martial arts background

At the age of seventeen, Penn began training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after being introduced to it by his neighbor, Tom Callos, and in 1997 began training under Ralph Gracie. After being awarded his black belt by Andre Pederneiras, leader of Nova Uniao, in 2000 he became the first non-Brazilian to win the black belt division of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. [cite web
url = http://www.bjpenn.com/bio.php
title = Biography
accessdate = 2006-10-10
work = BJPenn.com

Mixed martial arts career

His accomplishments in the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship caught the attention of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, where he began his mixed martial arts career less than a year later in 2001. He demonstrated strong striking skills, knocking out lightweights Din Thomas and Caol Uno before suffering a decision loss in a title fight against UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver. In 2003, after Pulver left the UFC and relinquished his title, a tournament to crown a new champion flopped when Penn fought Uno to a draw in the finals at "UFC 41", a failure which caused the UFC to later suspend its lightweight division. Penn bounced back later in the year with a victory over Takanori Gomi, future PRIDE Fighting Championship lightweight champion, in Rumble on the Rock, an MMA organization promoted by Penn's brother.

The crowning achievement of Penn's career came in 2004 at "UFC 46". Penn jumped up in weight classes to challenge the five-time defending UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes to fill a title contention slot in a division where Hughes had already defeated all the available opposition. Heavily favored to win, Hughes lost the fight four minutes into the first round by rear naked choke after giving up his back with only 23 seconds left in the round.

K-1 and HERO's

Shortly after defeating Matt Hughes, the new champion signed to fight in the K-1 organization. The UFC promptly stripped him of the welterweight title, claiming Penn breached his contract and that the signing constituted him refusing to defend his title. Penn filed a suit against the UFC and publicized his side of the conflict, claiming his UFC contract had already expired. Penn filed a motion to stop the UFC from awarding a new welterweight title, but that motion was denied. [cite news
url = http://www.sherdog.com/news/news.asp?n_id=1872
title = BJ Penn Sues Zuffa Over Stripping of Welterweight Title
accessdate = 2006-08-24
last = Sloan
first = Mike
date = 2004-07-23
work = Sherdog.com
] [cite news
url = http://www.sherdog.com/news/news.asp?n_id=2061
title = Court Sides with Zuffa Against BJ Penn
accessdate = 2006-08-24
date = 2004-10-01
work = Sherdog.com

In his first K-1 fight, Penn fought again at welterweight (170 lb) and defeated Duane Ludwig at the 2004 "K-1 MMA Romanex" show in under five minutes by arm triangle choke. Following the Ludwig fight, Penn moved up in weight class to face the undefeated Rodrigo Gracie at middleweight (185 lb). Penn won by decision, extending his winning streak to four fights.

In 2005, at the "K-1 Hero's 1" event in Japan, Penn faced light heavyweight Lyoto Machida, losing by unanimous decision. The fight happened at a 187 pound weight class. [http://www.hero-s.com/03eventresult/20050326/06_bj_lyoto/06_bj_lyoto.html] Later that year at "K-1 World Grand Prix Hawaii", Penn returned to middleweight to face Renzo Gracie and won by unanimous decision.

Return to the UFC

In early 2006 at "UFC 56", UFC president Dana White announced that Penn and the UFC had agreed to a settlement and Penn was to return as a top welterweight contender. Penn re-debuted on March 4 at "UFC 58", losing to Georges St. Pierre by split decision in a fight that determined the number one welterweight contender.

After new top contender St. Pierre injured himself during training, the UFC announced that Penn would replace St. Pierre in an upcoming title fight, setting up a highly anticipated rematch with Hughes for "UFC 63" on September 23, 2006. [cite news
url = http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2006/Sep-22-Fri-2006/sports/9793691.html
title = Penn will not be content with welterweight title
accessdate = 2006-09-22
last = Iole
first = Kevin
date = 2006-09-22
work = Las Vegas Journal-Review
] In the bout Penn controlled the first two rounds, but sustained a rib injury during the scramble to take Hughes' back in round two. He was visibly different in the third round, appearing exhausted and missing punches he was landing earlier. Hughes was able to take Penn to the mat, and in side control crucifix position rained punches on Penn's head until referee "Big" John McCarthy stopped the fight at 3:53 of the third round, making this the first (and to date, only) time that Penn had been stopped in a fight. In an interview found on Penn's personal website, Penn stated that by round three he could hardly breathe and had no "mobility in his core."Fact|date=May 2008 Despite the injury, Penn congratulated Hughes, calling him a great fighter and saying he deserved the victory.

Penn was a coach for "The Ultimate Fighter 5", which aired on April 5, 2007. Penn lead a team of eight lightweight fighters, and fought a rematch against Jens Pulver at the conclusion of the series on June 23, 2007. He won with a rear naked choke in the second round after controlling Pulver from the mount and then taking Pulver's back. Although he held the choke for a moment after Pulver tapped out, the two then embraced, with both later saying they no longer held any ill will against each other.

On July 7, 2007, during the post-fight press conference of "UFC 73", UFC president Dana White announced that Penn would stay at lightweight to fight current UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk. However, Sean Sherk subsequently was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission, and the status of the possible title fight was left in limbo as he pursued his appeals. With Sherk's title status still in limbo after months of hearings, the UFC scheduled Penn to fight Joe Stevenson at UFC 80 on January 19, 2008 for an interim lightweight title. The subsequent final decision by the California State Athletic Commission, which did not overturn Sherk's suspension, led to the title being stripped from Sherk and the Penn-Stevenson fight being upgraded to a full title bout, with the winner facing Sherk in their first defense.

Penn knocked Stevenson down seconds into the first round with a right uppercut, then took Stevenson down, eventually inflicting a serious cut near Stevenson's hairline. In the second round, Stevenson fought more aggressively but was still unable to threaten Penn. Penn worked to back mount and defeated him by rear naked choke at 4:02 of the second round to win the UFC lightweight championship. He celebrated the win by licking Joe Stevenson's blood off of his gloves. With this win, Penn became the second man (after Randy Couture) to win UFC titles in two different weight classes.cite web
title=UFC 80: B.J. Penn Beats Joe Stevenson, Wins Lightweight Championship in Bloody Battle
first=Michael David
publisher=AOL Sports
accessdate=Januar 21, 2008

The UFC announced that Penn's first title defense would be against former champion Sean Sherk at UFC 84 on May 24, 2008 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sherk only attempted to take Penn down once, in the very first round, with the fighters trading punches and leg kicks for the remainder of the fight. In the closing seconds of the third round, Penn threw a punch that backed Sherk into the cage, and ducking under another punch, he was hit in the head by a left knee from Penn. Sherk went down and Penn continued attacking, but the round ended before the referee stopped the fight. However, Sherk was unable to continue and Penn was declared the victor by TKO (strikes). After the fight, in response to Joe Rogan's question about his future, Penn asked the crowd if they wanted to see him fight Georges St. Pierre and was answered with a loud ovation.

Penn had previously hinted that if he defeated Sherk, he would like to move up to welterweight and fight current champion Georges St. Pierre for the title.cite web
title=Dana White Confirms Penn vs. Sherk and More
publisher=MMA Weekly

Penn recently told Fighters Club TV that he would face the winner of UFC 87 Welterweight title fight between Georges St. Pierre and Jon Fitch, which St. Pierre ended up winning by unanimous decision. This fight is now scheduled for January 31 2009, the "UFC Super Bowl Weekend", and is hoped to be the biggest UFC PPV ever. cite web
title=BJ Penn To Fight The Winner Of GSP vs. Jon Fitch

Personal life

His nickname "B.J." is short for "Baby Jay", as he is the youngest of his male siblings named "Jay Dee Penn". [cite web
url = http://www.knucklepit.com/mixed-martial-arts-bj_penn.htm
title = BJ PENN: The Day the Hawaiians Took Over
accessdate = 2006-08-23
last = Wickert
first = Mark
year = 2004
work = Knucklepit.com
] He has 3 brothers: Jay, Jaydee, and Reagan. [ [http://www.army.mil/-news/2007/01/17/1388-special-forces-soldiers-receive-combat-training-from-renowned-ufc-fighter/On Pearl Harbor Day, BJ Penn, voted one of the best pound-for-pound fighters ever by Elite Fighter magazine, gave his own time and expertise to some Green Berets at Fort Lewis, Wa. simply because he wanted to contribute to the war on terror. At his own expense and with his younger brother Reagan, also a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, in tow,] ] [ [http://hawaiiislandjournal.com/2004/03a04c.html Business is something that Penn understands. His parents, JD Penn and wife Lorraine Shin, are prominent property owners in the Pu'ueo neighborhood of Hilo. They instilled a strong work ethic in BJ, the youngest - short for "Baby Jay" - and his brothers Jay, Jaydee, Reagan and Kalani.] ] Penn's mother, Lorraine Shin, is a 3rd generation Korean-American. [ [http://www.chosun.com/se/news/200602/200602240280.html 1등 인터넷뉴스 조선닷컴 - '천재' BJ펜, 알고 보니 한국인 이민4세 ] ]

According to an interview given to Mickey's Malt Liquor, Penn has a dog called Sheila, likes gorillas and monkeys and believes a vampire would win a fight against a werewolf. His favourite TV shows as a kid were Transformers, GI Joe and Thundercats. He believes in UFOs and he enjoys spending his spare time eating out.

B.J. Penn, along with Glen Cordoza and Erich Krauss, is the author of "Mixed Martial Arts: The Book of Knowledge", an instructional book on mixed martial arts fighting. [cite web
title=Mixed Martial Arts: The Book of Knowledge Review

Penn can often be seen wearing the brand RVCA at UFC events. Sponsored by RVCA, he wears his custom-made Official B.J. Penn trunks for major UFC events.

B.J. Penn operates a website BJPENN.COM which he updates daily with free MMA lessons.

Penn's entrance music is a medley of "E Ala E" and "Hawai'i '78" by the late Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.

Legal troubles

B.J. Penn was arrested on May 8, 2005 outside a nightclub in Waikiki, Honolulu after he allegedly hit a police officer. Penn was among a crowd outside the club when he grabbed the officer and struck his face. [cite news
url = http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2005/May/09/ln/ln05p.html
title = Martial artist faces assault charge
accessdate = 2006-08-23
last = Boylan
first = Peter
date = 2005-05-09
work = Honolulu Advertiser
] According to his lawyer, Penn was trying to retrieve his brother from the fracas and shoved someone to his side to get into the crowd, who turned out to be the policeman. [cite news
work=KHNL News 8
title=Lawyer Defends Professional Fighter's Actions
] Penn plead no contest to the charges in August 2007, and received one year of probation on December 11, 2007. [cite news
title=B.J. Penn gets probation in Waikiki assault of policeman
work=Honolulu Advertiser

Mixed martial arts record


Jiu-Jitsu career highlights

* May 1997 - Enters first tournament in Bakersfield, CA and wins both his weight and the open weight class.
* June 1997 - Enters the Joe Moreira tournament as a blue belt winning his weight class.
* June 1997 - Wins submission grappling tournament
* 1997 - Receives blue belt from Ralph Gracie
* 1997 - Enters Brasileiro and places 4th in his weight class, blue belt category
* 1997 - Continues to enter tournaments upon return from Brazil placing first consistently
* 1998 - Silver medal at Brazilian Mundials competition in his weight division; receives purple belt upon return
* 1999 - Bronze medal at Brazilian Mundials in heavier weight class as a newly promoted Nova Uniao brown belt.
* 1999 - Gold medal, Copa Pacifica Tournament in Los Angeles, CA
* 1999 - Receives Black belt from Andre Pederneiras just 3 weeks before the 2000 Mundials
* 1999 - Joins Nova Uniao Competition Team (reserved for the four top team competitors)
* 2000 - First non-Brazilian to win gold medal in black belt division of the Mundial World Championships held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


External links

* [http://www.bjpenn.com/ Official website]

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