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16th Jan 2017

WATCH: BJ Penn’s comeback fight against Yair Rodriguez was even more depressing than everyone had feared

Incredibly tough to watch

Ben Kiely

“They say this is old school vs. new school. Kicking ass is timeless,” BJ Penn at the UFC Phoenix weigh-ins.

How we all wanted to believe that this time it would be different for ‘the Prodigy’. Unfortunately, all that his fight against rising featherweight star Yair Rodriguez confirmed was that time had caught up with him, as it will to each and every one of us.

BJ Penn is 38 years old. The last time he won a fight was over five years ago at UFC 123 against Matt Hughes.

Since starching Hughes in the first round, he scored a majority draw against Jon Fitch before going on a four-fight skid losing to Nick Diaz, Rory MacDonald, Frankie Edgar and in the wee hours of Sunday morning, it was 24-year-old Rodriguez who was the cause of his sorrows.

Penn landed just four significant strikes to the Mexican’s 55. The fight only reached 24 seconds into the second round and it is arguable that it could have been stopped sooner.

After putting on an improvisational striking masterclass in the opening stanza, Rodriguez dropped the Hall of Famer with a front kick to the face followed swiftly by a short right hook. Once The Hawaiian hit the canvas, Rodriguez pounced on him and landed dozens of unanswered strikes from the top position until Big John McCarthy had decided he had seen enough of Penn’s mammoth heart and called the fight to a halt.

That was as one-sided a beatdown as you’re likely to see in this sport. Penn was never in the fight. He never even came close to being in the fight.

A better cut down to featherweight wasn’t the answer. Making the move over to Jackson-Winkeljohn didn’t seem to help much either. The truth is if he had fought Ricardo Lamas, as he was scheduled to do at UFC Fight Night 97, the beating could have been even worse.

After being welterweight and lightweight champion, Penn isn’t going to add a third UFC belt to his overflowing trophy cabinet. Anyone waiting for that Dan Henderson moment where the crafty veteran drew from his wealth of experience to cause an upset over the youthful fighter was sorely disappointed at UFC Phoenix.

The only champion that remains unbeaten in this game is time.