B.J. Penn joins the UFC Hall of Fame class of 2015

Published May. 23, 2015 9:30 p.m. ET

Two-division champion B.J. Penn will officially join the ranks of the UFC Hall of Fame this July when he's inducted into the modern era wing as part of the festivities of International Fight Week 2015.

Penn is considered mixed martial arts royalty after starting his UFC career all the way back in 2001 at UFC 31 where he also made his professional fighting debut.

The Hawaiian would put on some of the most blistering performances the lightweight division had ever seen, but in 2004 he decided to move up to 170 pounds for a chance to face then champion Matt Hughes.

Penn needed just 4:39 to sink in a rear naked choke and put Hughes away to win the UFC welterweight title.

In 2008, Penn finally wrapped the UFC lightweight belt around his waist with a victory over Joe Stevenson before defending the title on three occasions.

Penn dropped the belt to Frankie Edgar in 2010 and never won another UFC title but remained one of the biggest stars on the entire roster.

Both inside and outside the Octagon, Penn is considered an icon of the sport and his inclusion in the UFC Hall of Fame almost seemed like a formality, but now he will officially be inducted as part of the class of 2015.