BJ Penn’s career is a catalog of memorable moments -- but there's still one walkout that stands out in his mind. See "The Prodigy" take on Rory MacDonald in the co-main event at UFC on FOX 5 this Saturday." /> My Favorite Fight: BJ Penn Remembers UFC 31 | UFC ® - News
Article

My Favorite Fight: BJ Penn Remembers UFC 31

Featuring belts in two divisions and a more than a decade of Octagon time, BJ Penn’s career is a catalog of memorable moments -- but there's still one walkout that stands out in his mind. See "The Prodigy" take on Rory MacDonald in the co-main event at UFC on FOX 5 this Saturday.
Penn walks out at UFC 31 in 2001...Of course I always say the first Matt Hughes fight when I won the title was the greatest moment in my career. But the moment that sticks out in my head as the most memorable is my first time walking out to the Octagon at UFC 31 in 2001 to fight Joey Gilbert.

Click here to watch Gilbert vs. Penn on UFC.TV

We were in Atlantic City for the event and it was just the craziest feeling. I remember my brothers were like, “Okay this is it. It’s time. We have to go to the arena."

I was so nervous in my room before my fight, I was crying. I knew this was the moment that was going to separate me from just being a street punk. I was actually going to get into the Octagon and fight someone who also trained and knew how to fight.

I was scared because I didn’t know what was going to happen. It was like going onto the scariest rollercoaster ever for the first time.

When I think about that moment now, I still feel those same butterflies I had that night. I remember walking out and listening to the old UFC music. Walking to the Octagon at 22 years old –- that was amazing. What if I would have gotten knocked out and my career was done? That would have been it right there.

... and at UFC 137 in 2011I never have thought my life would be anything like this, and it all started on that night walking into the Octagon. I actually just texted Dana the other day to say 'thank you' to him and Lorenzo. Because of them and the UFC I’ve gotten to live a life I would have never imagined.

Now I have the BJ Penn UFC Gym in Honolulu and BJPenn.com. I have all these other things that are so amazing. I have the gym and website and my whole UFC career, and I also have my beautiful family. My 4-year-old daughter wears my fight shirts. All the kids around town call me Uncle BJ so she always puts on my Just Scrap shirt and says, “I got Uncle BJ’s shirt! I got Uncle BJ’s shirt!” I got her 20 of them so she can wear them every night to sleep.

Without that moment at UFC 31, none of these amazing things in my life would be possible. So that’s why walking out to that fight is my favorite Octagon moment.

Watch Past Fights

Media

Recent
Rafael Dos Anjos isolates himself from his family by traveling to the busy metropolis of Singapore, studying Muay Thai from the best and teaching jiu-jitsu. Meanwhile Eddie Alvarez takes the opposite approach, living and training at home.
Jun 27, 2016
UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos will defend his title for the second time on July 7, facing No. 1 contender Eddie Alvarez in the main event of a special UFC FIGHT PASS card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Live and Exclusive on UFC FIGHT PASS!
Jun 27, 2016
UFC strawweight Joanna Jedrzejczyk talks about her hometown of Olsztyn, Poland and her rivalry with Claudia Gadelha ahead of their rematch in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter Finale on Friday, July 7.
Jun 27, 2016
With all the exciting fights on the historic UFC 200 card, make sure not to forget about Cain Velasquez. Velasquez takes on Travis Browne in a heavyweight matchup on the main card.
Jun 27, 2016