Sunday, August 28, 2011

B.J. Penn

Best Damn BJ Penn Highlight Ever! (2:30) mark

Jay Dee "B.J." Penn (born December 13, 1978) is an American mixed martial artist and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner who competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Penn was the first non-Brazilian winner of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in the black-belt category.He is known for his willingness to fight anyone regardless of weight class, fighting as high as light-heavyweight when he competed against Lyoto Machida in 2005.

A former UFC Lightweight Champion and UFC Welterweight Champion, he is only the second fighter in UFC history to win titles in two different weight classes, with the first being UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture. Penn served as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter 5 reality show. Penn is currently ranked as the #2 welterweight fighter in the world by Fight! Magazine and #8 welterweight fighter by MMAWeekly. Nicknamed "The Prodigy" for his astonishingly natural talent, Penn holds victories over former UFC champions Jens Pulver, Matt Serra, Sean Sherk and Matt Hughes, as well as former PRIDE champion Takanori Gomi. His record also includes notable wins over Caol Uno, Renzo Gracie, Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez.
Penn was born to Jay Dee Penn, an Irish American and Loraine Shin, a third generation Korean-American. At the age of seventeen, Penn began training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after being introduced to it by his neighbor, Tom Callos.Callos had put up fliers in local gyms looking for people to train with, and BJ's father Jay Dee Penn had called Callos and said his boys were interested.Callos then taught BJ and his brother what he knew.
In 1997 Penn began training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Ralph Gracie, eventually earning his purple belt from Gracie.At that point he moved to Nova União where he was eventually awarded his black belt in 2000 by Andre Pederneiras. A few weeks later he became the first non-Brazilian to win the black-belt division of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.While Penn's most well-known and prestigious achievement was placing first in the black belt division in the 2000 world championships, he had success at the Mundials in previous years. In 1999, at the age of 20, Penn finished 3rd in the brown belt division, losing only to Fernando Terere.
While most people need a decade or more to become a black belt, Penn had, with only three years of training, not only received a black belt but defeated people who had been training their entire lives on his way to winning the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Penn is thought to have earned the fastest black belt of all active Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners.
His accomplishments in the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship caught the attention of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which convinced him to switch to MMA.Penn made his mixed martial arts debut with the company on May 24, 2001 with a win over Joey Gilbert at UFC 31. He then demonstrated strong striking skills, knocking out lightweights Din Thomas and Caol Uno before suffering a decision loss in a championship fight against UFC Lightweight Champion, Jens Pulver1 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 a victory over Takanori Gomi, future Pride Fighting Championship Lightweight Champion, in Rumble on the Rock, an MMA organization promoted by Penn's brother.
Shortly after defeating Hughes, Penn signed to fight for the Japanese Fighting and Entertainment Group's (FEG) K-1 promotion citing a lack of challenging fights left for him in the UFC.[11] The UFC promptly stripped him of the welterweight title, 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.

In his first fight for FEG, Penn fought again at welterweight (170 pounds) and defeated Duane Ludwig at the 2004 K-1 MMA Romanex show in under five minutes by arm triangle choke.Following the Ludwig 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.
On March 26, 2005, at the inaugural event of FEG's new MMA promotion Hero's, Penn faced light heavyweight Lyoto Machida, losing by unanimous decision at K-1 Hero's 1. The fight happened at an open weight class with Penn weighing in at 86.5 kilograms (191 lb) and Machida 102 kilograms (220 lb). Later that year at K-1 World Grand Prix Hawaii, Penn returned to middleweight to face Renzo Gracie and won by unanimous decision.

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