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B.J. Penn

Hawaiian-born mixed-martial arts fighter B.J. “The Prodigy” Penn was the first non-Brazilian to win the black-belt division of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in 2000.

Born December 13, 1978, B.J. Penn began training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu in 1997 under Ralph Gracie. The Prodigy then moved to Rio de Janeiro to attend Nova Uniao, where he received his BJJ black belt from Andre Pederneiras. Several weeks after winning the WJJC, B.J. Penn joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship. In 2004, he became the UFC welterweight champion by defeating Matt Hughes at UFC 46. Upon defeating Joe Stevenson for the lightweight championship at UFC 80 (2008), B.J. Penn became the second MMA fighter to win UFC titles in two weight divisions. According to The Prodigy, once you start fighting, it’s hard to stop.

  1. B.J. Penn’s First Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Lesson

    B.J. Penn’s First Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Lesson

    B.J. Penn is a friend of mine. I gave him his very first Brazilian jiu-jitsu lessons, and for a year we trained together two to three days a week. Whenever B.J. Penn tells the story of how he got started in the martial arts, he’s always kind enough to mention
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  2. “Never Surrender” MMA Movie Trailer

    “Never Surrender” MMA Movie Trailer

    Never Surrender, new to DVD from Lionsgate, features a variety of fighters featured in Black Belt, including Hector Echavarria, Quinton Jackson, Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn!

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  3. B.J. Penn Cover Shoot at Black Belt Magazine

    B.J. Penn Cover Shoot at Black Belt Magazine

    In March 2007, B.J. Penn visited Black Belt Magazine for a cover shoot and what would end up being the first behind-the-scenes video shot for our then-in-development video-capable Web site at A bio on Penn is unnecessary… suffice to say he kicks a**. His nickname is “The Prodigy,” after
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