He made it a scrap, but BJ Penn just didn’t have enough in the tank to hang with Stockton brawler Nick Diaz down the stretch and the beating he took seems to have been enough to finally push him into retirement.
As he’s prone to do, Penn came out hard in the early going, getting in Diaz’s face with hard punches and avoiding most of his opponent’s stinging shots. The Prodigy put Diaz on the mat and briefly took his back also, slipping in punches whenever he could, on the ground, standing and during the transitions. As a bloodied Diaz walked back to his corner, it was clear that the first round belonged to the former UFC lightweight and welterweight champ, but Diaz was far from out of the fight.
The man from the 209 came out hard in the second, taking Penn’s wind and spirit with his standard, high-volume assault against the fence. The body shots piled on and Penn’s face began to bloody and swell past Diaz’s with every hard punch to the head the Californian would mix in. It looked for a bit as though Penn would be finished by strikes standing for the first time in his career; he managed to somehow weather the storm and stay upright, but never before had the vastly talented competitor been beaten down so soundly on his feet.
True to his warrior spirit, Penn came out hard for the third round and remained tenacious until the end. Diaz was simply the better, more well-conditioned fighter, able to absorb Penn’s heavy-handed punches and land with great frequency effective strikes of his own, eventually taking home a well-earned unanimous decision victory.
Fired up in victory, Diaz stormed around the cage challenging welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and showed great respect for Penn, a man whom he’s called an idol.
“I don’t think Georges is hurt, I think Georges is scared to fight everyone right now,” said Diaz, before adding of his beaten opponent. “BJ’s the man, I always loved watching him fight.”
A future UFC Hall of Famer without a doubt, Penn falls to 16-8-2 in defeat and seems to have finally had enough of MMA. Bloodied and beaten, the dejected 32-year-old told Joe Rogan that this will be the last time he sets foot in the Octagon.
“Hats off to Nick Diaz, he’s the man. Joe, this is probably the last time that you’re gonna see me in here,” said Penn. “I want to compete at the top and if I can’t… I’ve got a daughter and one more on the way. I don’t want to go home looking like this, I’m done.”