BJ Penn


Jay Dee “B.J.” Penn (born December 12, 1978 in Hilo, Hawaii) is an American professional mixed martial arts fighter and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. He is the first American-born winner of the World Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship (Mundial) in the black belt category (2000), a former UFC Welterweight Champion, and is a coach on the The Ultimate Fighter 5 reality show. His nickname “B.J.” is short for “Baby Jay”, as he is the youngest of his male siblings, all of whom are named “Jay Dee Penn”.[1]


Martial arts background

At the age of seventeen, Penn began training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after being introduced to it by his neighbor Tom Callos, and in 1997 he started training under Ralph Gracie. After being awarded his black belt in 2000 by Andre Pederneiras of Nova Uniao, he became the first non-Brazilian to win a gold medal in the black belt division of the Mundial World Championships held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.2

Mixed martial arts career

His accomplishments 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 an impressive victory over Takanori Gomi, Japan’s current number-one ranked lightweight fighter at Rumble on the Rock, an MMA event promoted by his 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 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.

In 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 belt, 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.34

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 that fight, Penn moved up in weight class to face the undefeated Rodrigo Gracie at middleweight (185 pounds). Penn won by decision, extending his winning streak to four fights and his undefeated streak to seven.

In 2005, at the K-1 Hero’s 1 event in Japan, Penn controversially faced light heavyweight Ryoto Machida, losing by decision. 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 have agreed to a settlement and Penn was to return as a top welterweight contender. Penn redebuted on March 4 at UFC 58 and lost against Georges St. Pierre in a close split decision, in a fight that determined the welterweight number one contendership.

In July, Penn briefly spoke with KUAM about rededicating himself to earning the lightweight championship, along with the welterweight and middleweight titles.

After St. Pierre, who became the UFC’s top contender for the welterweight title since his win over Penn, 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. 5 In the bout, Penn controlled the first two rounds, but he sustained a rib injury during the scramble to take Hughes’ back in round two severely limiting his breathing capacity. He was visibly different in the third round not being able to breathe properly. Hughes was able to take Penn to the mat in a side control position and rain punches on Penn’s head until referee John McCarthy stopped the fight at 3:53 of the third round, making this the first 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.” Despite his injury, he congratulated Hughes, calling him a great fighter, and said he deserved his victory. Recently BJ has announced that he will continue to fight in the UFC and remains dedicated to regaining the welterweight title.6

Penn is a coach for The Ultimate Fighter 5, which aired on April 5, 2007. Penn leads a team of eight lightweight fighters, and will have a rematch with Jens Pulver at the conclusion of the series.

Legal troubles

B.J. Penn was arrested on May 8, 2005 outside a nightclub in Waikiki, Honolulu after he allegedly assaulted a police officer. Penn was apparently among a crowd outside the club when a fight broke out, and was accused of striking an officer during the breakup of the fight.7 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.8 Penn was later indicted, but as of August 2006, the case has not been resolved.9

Mixed martial arts record

Result Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Notes
Loss Matt Hughes TKO (Strikes) UFC 63: Hughes vs. Penn 9/23/2006 3 3:53 For UFC Welterweight Championship
Loss Georges St. Pierre Decision (Split) UFC 58: USA vs. Canada 3/4/2006 3 5:00
Win Renzo Gracie Decision (Unanimous) K-1 World Grand Prix Hawaii 7/29/2005 3 5:00
Loss Lyoto Machida Decision (Unanimous) K-1 Hero’s 1 3/26/2005 3 5:00 At 205 lbs
Win Rodrigo Gracie Decision (Unanimous) ROTR 6-Rumble on the Rock 6 11/20/2004 3 5:00
Win Duane Ludwig Submission (Arm Triangle Choke) K-1 MMA-ROMANEX 5/22/2004 1 1:45
Win Matt Hughes Submission (Rear Naked Choke) UFC 46: Supernatural 1/31/2004 1 4:39 Wins UFC Welterweight Championship
Win Takanori Gomi Submission (Rear Naked Choke) ROTR 4-Rumble on the Rock 4 10/10/2003 3 2:35
Draw Caol Uno Draw UFC 41: Onslaught 2/28/2003 5 5:00 For UFC Lightweight Championship; no title is awarded due to draw
Win Matt Serra Decision (Unanimous) UFC 39: The Warriors Return 9/27/2002 3 5:00
Win Paul Creighton TKO (Strikes) UFC 37: High Impact 5/10/2002 2 3:23
Loss Jens Pulver Decision (Majority) UFC 35: Throwdown 1/11/2002 5 5:00 For UFC Lightweight Championship
Win Caol Uno KO (Punches) UFC 34: High Voltage 11/2/2001 1 0:11
Win Din Thomas TKO (Strikes) UFC 32: Showdown in the Meadowlands 6/29/2001 1 2:42
Win Joey Gilbert TKO (Strikes) UFC 31: Locked and Loaded 5/4/2001 1 4:57

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 Enters Brasileiro and places 4th in his weight class, blue belt category
  • 1997 Continues to enter tournaments upon return from Brazil placing first consistently
  • 1997 Receives blue belt from Ralph Gracie
  • 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 Pacific Tournament in Los Angeles
  • 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.
  • Quotes

    “He spent the night in a hospital, I spent the night at a bar.”
    -after his 3 round split decision loss to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 58


  • ^ Wickert, Mark (2004). BJ PENN: The Day the Hawaiians Took Over. Retrieved on 2006-08-23.
  • ^ Biography. Retrieved on 2006-10-10.
  • ^ Sloan, Mike. “BJ Penn Sues Zuffa Over Stripping of Welterweight Title”,, 2004-07-23. Retrieved on 2006-08-24. 
  • ^ “Court Sides with Zuffa Against BJ Penn”,, 2004-10-01. Retrieved on 2006-08-24. 
  • ^ Iole, Kevin. “Penn won’t be content with welterweight title”, Las Vegas Journal-Review, 2006-09-22. Retrieved on 2006-09-22. 
  • ^ Back in Hawaii – BJ Talks About Yesterday’s Title Fight.. (2006-09-24). Retrieved on 2006-09-25.
  • ^ Boylan, Peter. “Martial artist faces assault charge”, Honolulu Advertiser, 2005-05-09. Retrieved on 2006-08-23. 
  • ^ “Lawyer Defends Professional Fighter’s Actions”, KHNL News 8. Retrieved on 2007-04-15. 
  • ^ Morinaga, Dayton. “Penn receives a shot to reclaim UFC title”, Honolulu Advertiser, 2006-08-24. Retrieved on 2007-04-15. 
  • External links

    • Official Website
    • Professional MMA record for BJ Penn from
    • Interview with Mike Sloan
    • Interview with
    • Highlight Video
    • Officical Fan Site of B.J. Penn

    Previous champion
    Matt Hughes (fighter)
    4th UFC Welterweight Champion

    January 31, 2004 – February 2004

    Next champion
    Matt Hughes (fighter)

    The Ultimate Fighter – Season 5
    Alan Berube | Nathan Diaz | Robert Emerson | Manvel Gambaryan | Brian Geraghty | Corey Hill | Joe Lauzon | Gray Maynard | Brandon Melendez | Cole Miller | Gabe Ruediger | Marlon Sims | Noah Thomas | Andy Wang | Wayne Weems | Matt Wiman

    Coaches: B.J. Penn | Jens Pulver

    * Page name: BJ Penn

    * Author: Wikipedia contributors

    * Publisher: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

    * Permanent link:


    Leave A Reply