B.J. Penn (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

UFC Fight Night 112: Can ‘The Prodigy’ Reboot?

With the busiest weekend for MMA in recent memory on the horizon, it’s easily forgotten that UFC Hall of Famer B.J. Penn will be making his 25th walk to the Octagon this Sunday at UFC Fight Night 112.

There is no better time to be an MMA fan. As UFC ring announcer Bruce Buffer would say, “It’s time!” Time, that is, for a weekend jam-packed full of MMA action.

Bellator gets this weekend’s action started off with a bang when the Viacom-owned company hosts its first event at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Spike TV portion of the night gives us five fights, headlined by Ryan Bader’s challenge to the Bellator light heavyweight title held by Phil Davis. The promotion then takes its second crack at the pay-per-view model. Even though the main event features Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva, people are probably most excited for the return of Fedor Emelianenko.


As if that fight card alone wouldn’t be enough to get the average MMA fan amped up for this weekend’s action, the UFC has a rare Sunday night Fight Night card in Oklahoma City. Normally, a feature bout between Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee doesn’t do too much in the intrigue department. However, given their altercation at the Summer Series press conference, this fight now conjures some anticipation. Couple that headlining bout with a rock-solid co-main between Tim Boetsch and Johny Hendricks, and you have a good night of fights.

This brings us full circle to the aforementioned Penn. With all the high-level MMA action this weekend, it’s easily forgotten that one of the greatest UFC fighters of all time is making his 25th walk to the Octagon. He may no longer be the 20-year-old “Prodigy” that took the MMA world by storm, but he is still a Hall of Famer.

When Penn came out of retirement, many fans wondered what the Hawaiian had left in the gas tank. We still don’t know what a 38-year-old Penn is capable of doing. Yair Rodriguez made the him look obsolete, but his next opponent, Dennis Siver, makes for a much more evenly matched fight for Penn.

Will Penn ever make a run at a title at this point in his career? Absolutely not, but he can participate in some very entertaining contests and, dare I say, even provide us with a “Fight of the Night.”

There was a time, not long ago, when Penn was the main attraction. The sport of MMA has come a long way since then. Penn is still here, though, and on Sunday night, the “Prodigy” gets a reboot.