UFC News: Tristar Head Trainer Invites BJ Penn to Train at His Gym

John Heinis@HeinisHardNewsSenior Analyst IJanuary 10, 2013

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 27:  BJ Penn of the USA looks across the octagon at John Fitch of the USA before the start of their welterweight bout part of UFC 127 at Acer Arena on February 27, 2011 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

There is no love lost between former UFC lightweight/welterweight champion BJ Penn and the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec. 

However, on the most recent edition of BJPenn.com Radio, head trainer Firas Zahabi invited "The Prodigy" to come train at his respected facility. 

"I think he’s a phenomenal fighter, I think he has a lot that he can still do,” Zahabi said. “I really think he can be where he used to be. I think he can make it back there. I’d love for him to come to Tristar and train with us and see what we do. We can have an exchange of ideas and how we could mutually benefit from such an experience. I really think he has a lot left in him, but that’s up to him. He has nothing to prove, he’s done everything in this sport and if he fights it’s for his own personal enjoyment and I would encourage him. If he doesn’t want to fight I don’t think he has anything to prove, he’s done it all so it’s really up to him and what he feels he wants to do.”

Penn has been training at his own gym, BJ Penn's MMA in Hawaii, for years, a situation many blame for his recent for his 1-4-1 record in his past six fights. 

Many fans and analysts believe the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt doesn't have the coaching staff and training partners necessary to reach his full potential, so its not unfathomable to think a gym change could breathe some life into his storied career. 

One of only two two-division champions in UFC history (the other being Randy Couture), Penn is 0-3 against Tristar fighters: losing to UFC welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre twice, and most recently, rising star Rory MacDonald at UFC on FOX 5 last month. 

Penn has always had some trouble with high-level wrestlers throughout his 11-year, 27-fight career, and there are no shortage of those at Tristar. 

After his loss against MacDonald, Penn said he was going to "take some time" before he decided whether or not he would continue fighting. 

Following a lopsided decision loss to Nick Diaz at UFC 137 in Oct. 2011, Penn announced his retirement, but he found a challenge from MacDonald too enticing to turn down. 

Could a move to the Tristar Gym bring out the best in Penn, or is the UFC legend at the point where retirement is the only intelligent option?