All About B.J. Penn
Joined: 31 Dec 1969
Titles & Awards:
- former UFC weltweight champion.
- current UFC lightweight champion.
- "Submission of the Night" award winner at UFC 101.
- coach on The Ultimate Fighter 5.
- first non-Brazilian to win the Mundials as a black belt.
CBJJ World Championships
2000 Black Belt Pena: 1st Place
1999 Brown Belt Leve: 3rd Place
1998 Blue Belt Pena: 2nd Place
CBJJ Brazilian Team Championships
2000 Marrom Preta Leve: Nova União - 1st Place.
GQ lightweight superfight winner.
1997 Joe Moreira tournament (blue belt) - 1st Place.
1999 Copa Pacific tournament - 1st Place.
Black belt awarded by Andre Pederneiras.
Jay Dee Penn (born December 13, 1978 in Kailua, Hawaii), better known as B.J. Penn, is an American professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) practitioner. His nickname "B.J." is an abbreviation of another nickname "Baby Jay", which itself derives from the fact that Penn is the youngest of his brothers all named Jay Dee Penn. B.J.'s father, who is Irish and English, named three of his four sons "Jay Dee", while the fourth is named Reagan. In order to avoid confusion, each of the sons named "Jay Dee" goes by a nickname: Jay, Jay Dee (J.D.), and Baby Jay (B.J). Penn's mother, Lorraine Shin, is a 3rd generation Korean-American.
At the age of 17, Penn began training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after being introduced to it by his neighbor Tom Callos. Callos had put up fliers in local gyms looking for people to train with and B.J.'s father Jay Dee Penn had rung Callos and said his boys were interested. Callos then taught B.J. and his brother what he knew. In 1997, Penn began training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Ralph Gracie in northern California, 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 (Mundials) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Penn is also noted as one of the fastest recipients of the rank of black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, achieving this honor in 3 years. These accomplishments in Jiu-Jitsu earned him his popular fight nickname "The Prodigy" from OnTheMat.com (OTM) founder Scotty Nelson, who was one of Penn's first training partners and his first sponsor.
Penn was also a coach on the The Ultimate Fighter 5, which is a reality television show produced by the UFC. He coached the show opposite lightweight rival Jens Pulver, whom he would go on to defated in a highly-anticipated rematch at The Ultimate Fighter 5 Finale. One of Penn's biggest accomplishments, however, would be winning UFC titles in two separate weight classes. After having previously won the UFC welterweight title from Matt Hughes at UFC 46, Penn would win the UFC lightweight title against Joe Stevenson at UFC 80. By winning both the UFC welterweight and lightweight titles, Penn became only the second fighter to win UFC titles in two different weight classes with the other fighter being Randy Couture. Penn has since defended his UFC lightweight title twice against Sean Sherk and Kenny Florian. He also unsuccessfully attempted to regain the UFC welterweight title from Georges St-Pierre between his wins over Sherk and Florian. Penn is widely regarded as the #1 lightweight fighter in the world.