Penn determined to prove himself

BJ Penn will enter The Ultimate Fighter 19 as coach for the
second time while also competing in his third weight class inside
the UFC Octagon.

The former champion at both welterweight and lightweight is
reinventing himself again as a 145-pound fighter for a chance to
compete for a new belt and earn a third chance at figuring out a
way to beat Frankie Edgar.

At 34 years of age and more than 25 fights to his record, Penn
is a veteran but he’s also a champion numerous times over and a
legend in the sport. He doesn’t really have much left to
prove, but still Penn wants to come back again at a new weight
class and prove he’s still one of the best fighters on the
planet.

UFC president Dana White admits that this latest run from Penn
should be his last, but he’s not so sure the Hawaiian who started
fighting in the Octagon back in 2001 sees it the same way.

“I do (think it’s his last run), but BJ doesn’t see it that
way,” White told FOX Sports. “First of all, everyone’s questioning
his weight — he’s almost there now. Wait till you see how
skinny BJ Penn is, it’s crazy. BJ’s one of those guys, the mental
thing like you said, once he sets his mind to something this is
what he’s decided to do and he believes he’s going to rip through
these guys and win that title. I love that. That’s what I want guys
here for.”

In his mind, White doesn’t think Penn needs to do anything else
in his career at this stage to prove he’s one of the best ever. His
accomplishments and huge list of accolades should do the job, but
White knows there is a hunger inside of Penn that just isn’t easily
satisfied.

“If you look at what BJ Penn has accomplished,” White said. “BJ
Penn built the 155-pound division. At a time when people used to go
‘oh those guys are too small, we don’t want to see the small guys
fight, those guys will never be a pay-per-view draw’. BJ was one of
the biggest pay-per-view draws in the UFC at the time.”

Penn will try to find the spark to make an attempt at winning
another title, but it won’t be easy. He’s going to be competing at
featherweight for the first time ever against a fighter who has
already defeated him twice.

It’s an uphill battle, but if it was easy that’s probably the
time Penn would actually walk away and put MMA behind him for good.