Former UFC champion BJ Penn will return from a brief retirement to face Rory MacDonald this December. Penn, however, was actually set to retire back in 2002.
Entering UFC 35, Penn planned to defeat Jens Pulver and leave the sport. Instead, a loss to Pulver sent “The Prodigy” on a whirl-wind career that resulted in him becoming one of the elite fighters of his generation.
“I just wanted to do my three fights,” said Penn, in a recent interview with Sherdog.com. “Get the belt, stop, never fight again and just teach sometimes and be a businessman, a regular person living in a regular desk job.”
Penn confirmed that he was “really going to retire” if he defeated Pulver, but “Jens beat me and kept me around the sport all the way to today, kept me going.”
After suffering his first career loss to Pulver, Penn went on to defeat such notables as Matt Serra, Matt Hughes and Renzo Gracie. He avenged the defeat at the hands of Pulver by topping him in 2007.
An injury to MacDonald forced the planned return of Penn to be pushed back to UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz. The fight will be part of the main card from Seattle on December 8.