BJ Penn: “The AD World Pro Will Make Jiu-Jitsu Players Stay In Jiu-Jitsu Instead Of Moving To MMA To Pay The Bills…”


BJ Penn was a special guest at the World Pro Jiu-Jitsu in Abu Dhabi last weekend. He shared his thoughts on how the World Pro will change Professional Jiu-Jitsu:

Source: Gulf News

When do we see you back in action? Or have you called it a day?

B.J. Penn: I might fight again, I am not actively seeking to fight again but I think I may. I fought in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for 13 years; the UFC does not want to see me get hurt I think… so maybe I fight again or maybe not.


Being on the circuit for such a long time, how do you think the fighters view the Abu Dhabi World BJJ Championship now?

I never thought that in a million years that the UAE is going to be a very big place in Jiu Jitsu. But then again, I was just a kid from a small town in Hawaii and the UAE is so far. You know what…it is a dream; it is a dream for the people to come here. Whenever the trials happen, everybody runs to go to the trials…this is an amazing event.

This is the fifth edition of the championship here. How much of an impact has it had on the world of martial arts?

Maybe if this professional event was here 13 years ago, I wouldn’t have fought Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) but I would have done this to pay the bills.
This is very big, this is going to have a lot of ramifications in the future. It is going to steal a lot of MMA talent because they are going to say,
‘I don’t have to go get punched in my face. I can do what I love and still pay my bills.’

You have seen the UAE nationals in action and you have been organizing some “Masterclass” sessions here. What does the future hold for Emirati fighters?

There is a lot of talent and the sport is very popular here. I think in the next two to five years, there is going to be at least one or two UAE fighters who are going to be in the top level with everybody else. I believe this for sure.

How appealing can the BJJ be to kids in comparison to other sport like football or tennis. Is it difficult to woo them to the sport?

Everybody wants to be tough. People are going to take to Jiu Jitsu. See in any other sport when the athletes get mad, they start to fight. At that point, they forget the sport they are playing and start the other sport (fighting)!
But it’s a good question if the sport is as appealing. If you see people playing soccer and some Jiu Jitsu, which way will you go? I think it’s better left to each individual as to what he is good at.

Read full interview