One of the UFC’s biggest ever stars BJ Penn broke down in tears last night at the TUF 19 Finale post-fight press conference as he confirmed that it was time to hang up his gloves for good after a one-sided loss to Frankie Edgar in their trilogy fight.
“I’m thinking to myself, ‘Why did you step back into the Octagon after the beating that Rory MacDonald gave you?'” Penn said at the presser which he joined part of the way through after getting stitches to cuts he’d received during the fight.
“The answer is because I really needed to find out. If I didn’t make this night happen for myself I would have always wondered, I would have always went back and forth and begged Dana to let me get back in there, and I guess I just needed some closure.”
He went on to say it would have been his biggest regret if he hadn’t got back into the Octagon one more time and found out for sure whether he still had what it took to compete at the highest level.
“Now I know for sure that I can’t,” he said.
Penn had held it together up until that point, but when asked what his lasting legacy would be in the sport he he could no longer keep his emotions bottled up.
“My lasting legacy now is just going to be in highlight reels and that Dana gave me the opportunity to work with the UFC gyms and do different things so that I can continue to feed myself over, you know…” he managed to say before putting down the mic, hanging his head down and beginning to cry.
It was a sad moment to see, but thankfully Dana White quickly broke the ice by picking up where Penn left off, stating that Penn’s legacy would include being one of the best lightweights of all time, being one of only two fighters to hold belts in two different weight classes, and helping to build not only the lightweight division, but the UFC.
It’s an impressive list of accomplishments by anyone’s standards and raised widespread applause from the media in attendance.
Penn’s fighting career may have ended on a low note last night, but there’s no question that ‘The Prodigy’ will forever remain one of the sports most beloved and revered legends.
Watch highlights from the emotionally charged press conference below.