BJ Penn Next Fight: Fighter Ruins Legacy Continuing Career in Octagon

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2012

Dec 8, 2012, Seattle, WA, USA;  Rory MacDonald (not pictured) fights B.J. Penn during their first round welterweight bout at MMA on FOX 5 at Key Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

B.J. Penn looked absolutely spent Saturday night.

Simply saying he lost to Rory MacDonald at UFC on FOX 5 doesn't do justice to how much MacDonald dominated the fight. Two of the judges scored the fight 30-26 with the third a little closer at 30-27.

FightMetric had MacDonald scoring 116 signature strikes to Penn's 24. In terms of percentages, it came out to 57 percent for MacDonald and a paltry 24 percent for Penn.

At one point, MacDonald dropped his hands and simply taunted his opponent. It's the ultimate sign of disrespect, but it's also very telling of Penn's present ability in the Octagon.

The fight might not have been in the weight class in which Penn has excelled in the past, but it doesn't change the fact he looked like he had nothing left in the tank.

Penn has "retired" before only to return from hiatus, but this time he should make it official.

Even UFC President Dana White put in his two cents regarding Penn's future. He told ESPN:

I would love to see BJ Penn retire. I really do love the guy. All the good, the bad, the ugly we've been through over the last 13 years—I care about him. He's got money. He's got a family that loves him. He's got a beautiful wife, kids, nothing left to prove. I would like to see BJ ride off into the sunset.

White hit the nail right on the head when he said that Penn has nothing to prove anymore. He career exploits already make him worthy of the UFC Hall of Fame. Nothing he does from now on will change that.

The longer he prolongs his career, however, the further he gets from when he was one of the best fighters in the world. He can't do anything from now that will change how good he was, but it can alter his legacy. The only place left to go is down at this point.

Brett Favre is one of the greatest quarterbacks in history, but his career was irrevocably damaged by his waffling on whether or not he would return and subsequent stints with the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings.

Mike Tyson hung on way too long and was knocked out by Lennox Lewis, Danny Williams and Kevin McBride. The days of "Iron Mike" are a mere afterthought to his biting Evander Holyfield's ear and his talking of fading into "Bolivian."

Fighters especially have a hard time calling it quits.

Whether it's boxing or MMA, fights can turn with one punch. That's the attitude that many fighters have. Although their ability is diminished, they firmly believe that they can end a fight with the right opening.

As much as fans might love Penn, they wouldn't enjoy another fight in which he was thoroughly outclassed again. It leaves another sour image on to the end of his legacy.

Penn has had one of the more illustrious careers in the history of UFC. Now's not the time to go and mess it all up.