Bj Penn is looking forward to the return to the octagon. The bjj phenom got his black belt in the staggering 3 years.
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, earning himself a bronze medal in the brown belt division, losing only to Fernando “Tererê” Augusto, and in 1998, earned a silver medal, placing 2nd in the blue belt division. Penn is thought to have earned the fastest legitimate black belt of all active Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners (tied with two others).
“Jiu-Jitsu changed my life completely,” said the actor in an exclusive conversation with GRACIEMAG. “I would be just another guy drinking beer on the beach if it was not for Jiu-Jitsu. It is very beautiful to see the expansion of Jiu-Jitsu. We have Nova Union athletes in Australia, Canada and other parts of the world. Jiu-Jitsu transforms the lives of many people around the world. “
At this point BJ Penn is prepping for a grappling spectacle that will be facing Ryan Hall:
A former BJJ black belt world champion, Penn is brushing up on his Jiu-Jitsu at Nova Uniao. He surprisingly admitted that he only recently learned the berimbolo and is going to start learning the 50/50 which happens to be Ryan Hall’s best position…
Ryan Hall has had a very long lay off from the UFC to the point where people were wondering if he was even still fighting.
The controversial response to the Grey Maynard fight certainly had its repercussions. Here’s how Hall explains the long layoff:
“I expressed the interest to the matchmaker in the UFC, who’s never been anything but a gentleman to me, that I wanted to face very difficult and challenging opposition, and he said okay. He said, ‘I’ll let you know when that comes around,’ that a lot of those guys have turned down the fight. So, no, I’ve not been spending my time turning down fights. Not a ton of offers have come in, but the ones that have, I’ve accepted wholeheartedly, and finally we got a good one. In B.J. Penn, you have someone who’s clearly not afraid of anyone. This guy fought up to heavyweight, he fought Lyoto Machida, so I don’t think bravery is an issue in his case, and I will try to match that myself.”
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