BJ Penn will go down in history as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of his generation. He is universally recognized for his accomplishments in UFC where he won two titles in separate divisions: lightweight and welterweight. This feat is so rare that only two men have ever managed to do it. He still holds the records for the biggest number of wins in the lightweight division which includes matches against highly respected competitors.
It is only fitting then that the organization has chosen to honor him with an induction to the Hall of Fame prior to the much awaited UFC 189 event. This is without a doubt one of his crowning achievements in the sport. Yet the champion does not even consider any of his legendary MMA exploits as being the highlight of his enviable career as a fighter. This moment came earlier when he was just starting out.
According to BJ Penn, his proudest moment was when he won the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) world title. It was the first time that a non-Brazilian was able to top the podium making it a historic feat. Penn is from Hawaii but trained in Rio de Janeiro to hone his skills in this sport. He received instruction at the Nova Uniao under the guidance of Andre Pederneiras. It took him only a few years to earn his black belt. He became world champion in 2000.
“My greatest moment in my whole career is when I became the first non-Brazilian to win the Brazilian jiu-jitsu world championship,”
A year later, he would move on to MMA where he immediately made an impact. His knockout wins made him a crowd favorite. Later on, he would use his BJJ skills to outsmart tougher opponents and snatch his two titles against the biggest names inside the Octagon. Rumors of a comeback keep surfacing although he has already retired last year. Penn said the thought tempts him but he isn’t thrilled about coming back to training camp. Indeed, he has already done so much and left fans with plenty to appreciate.