B.J. Penn felt great training at Nova Uniao in Brazil prior to his UFC 232 matchup with Ryan Hall, but the end result was not what he had hoped.
“You know I felt like I had one of the greatest training camps in my life for this fight,” Penn said in an interview on BJPenn.com. “Training in Brazil at Nova Uniao was nothing short of amazing. I can’t thank Leo Santos and coach Andre Pederneiras enough for their efforts. We had practiced everything, including leg locks, and I felt great. It just didn’t work out this time around.”
Ultimately, Penn suffered his sixth consecutive Octagon defeat at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., on Dec. 29, as he tapped to a Ryan Hall heel hook 2:46 into the opening stanza of their lightweight bout. In hindsight, “The Prodigy” couldn’t do much but tip his hat to Hall, a skilled Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.
“I was shocked at how deep Ryan was able to sink in the leg lock right off the hop,” Penn said. “The timing was perfect. I tried to run and pull my leg out, but I wasn’t going anywhere as my knee was still stuck inside his hips. So I tried to defend my knee and turn it up towards the sky. By the time I looked back he had already switched to the heel hook and my ankle just popped.
“It is swollen. There’s some bruising and what not. But it wasn’t my knee. It was my ankle that popped. It is what it is. Hats off to Ryan Hall, that submission was the perfect storm.”
The 40-year-old UFC Hall of Famer hasn’t tasted victory since a 21-second knockout of Matt Hughes on Nov. 20, 2010. He retired for the first time following a lopsided TKO defeat to Frankie Edgar at “The Ultimate Fighter 19” finale in July 2014. Since his return, Penn has fallen to Yair Rodriguez, Dennis Siver and Hall.
At least for now, Penn won’t commit to any future plans one way or another.
“I just got back home to Hawaii,” Penn said. “I’m going to let my ankle heal up and then I will contemplate what is next for my life.”