This Month’s MMA Birthdays: B.J. Penn Turns 40

By Brian Knapp Dec 5, 2018

Even as his once-prodigious skills faded and the results of his fights provided further ammunition for his detractors, B.J. Penn maintained a loyal following across the mixed martial arts universe. The popular Hawaiian will celebrate his 40th birthday on Dec. 13.

Penn was awarded his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt after just three years of formal training and first surfaced as a name to watch in 2000, when he became the first non-Brazilian to win the Mundials at the black-belt level. One of only five men -- Randy Couture, Conor McGregor, Georges St. Pierre and Daniel Cormier are the others -- who have win Ultimate Fighting Championship titles in multiple weight classes, Penn captured the public’s imagination when he debuted on May 4, 2001 and started his career with three consecutive first-round finishes. Included among them was his 11-second dismantling of Caol Uno at UFC 34. Penn laid claim to the welterweight crown with a stunning upset of Matt Hughes at UFC 46 and later took lightweight gold with a gory submission victory over Joe Stevenson at UFC 80. Father Time has not treated him well: “The Prodigy” has gone 1-7-1 in nine appearances since he retained his 155-pound championship against Diego Sanchez in December 2009. Penn will return to the cage at UFC 232 on Dec. 29, when he faces “The Ultimate Fighter 22” winner Ryan Hall at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Others in MMA celebrating birthdays during the month of December:

DEC. 1

Scott Barrett, 35
Shinsho Anzai, 33
Curtis Millender, 31
Richard Walsh, 30

DEC. 2

Dennis Hallman, 43
Billy Vaughan, 35
Marlon Vera, 26
Yadong Song, 21

DEC. 3

Vernon White, 47
Robert Hitte, 43
Seth Petruzelli, 39
Nina Ansaroff, 33
Shoki Omichi, 31
Tomasz Narkun, 29

DEC. 4

Sean Daugherty, 43
Bryce Logan, 29
Mike Rhodes, 29
Max Holloway, 27
Gianni Subba, 26

DEC. 5

Daijiro Matsui, 46
Travis Lutter, 45
Amy Davis, 44
Tetsuji Kato, 41
Kenichiro Togashi, 38
Roger Bowling, 36
Mats Nilsson, 35

DEC. 6

Royler Gracie, 53
Jens Pulver, 44
Peggy Morgan, 39
Igor Araujo, 38
Todd Duffee, 33

DEC. 7

Soa Palelei, 41
Ronaldo Souza, 39
K.J. Noons, 36
Dongi Yang, 34
Justin Patterson, 33
Michael Chiesa, 31
Claudia Gadelha, 30
Stephen Banaszak, 28

DEC. 8

Lucio Linhares, 45
Clay Guida, 37
Naoyuki Kotani, 37
Luiz Andrade I, 33
Pannie Kianzad, 27

DEC. 9

Chris Guillen, 46
Aaron Riley, 38
Joey Beltran, 37
Rani Yahya, 34
Terrell Hobbs, 33

DEC. 10

John Olav Einemo, 43
Andreas Kraniotakes, 37
Zoila Frausto, 35
Jamie Varner, 34
Soo Chul Kim, 27

DEC. 11

Toni Tauru, 34
Mark Drummond, 33
Amir Aliakbari, 31
Anthony Rocco Martin, 29
Mateusz Gamrot, 28

DEC. 12

Royce Gracie, 52
Evangelista Santos, 41
Yuki Shojo, 38
Court McGee, 34
Luke Sanders, 33
Neiman Gracie, 30
Derrick Adkins, 29
Alessio Di Chirico, 29
Spencer Jebb, 29

DEC. 13

Maurice Smith, 57
Mike Nickels, 47
B.J. Penn, 40
Amilcar Alves, 39
Dennis Bermudez, 32

DEC. 14

Valdir Araujo, 34
Caio Magalhaes, 31
Graham Park, 30
Heili Alateng, 27
Ion Cutelaba, 25

DEC. 15

Cleber Luciano, 45
Yasubey Enomoto, 35
Jared Chaffee, 34
Ivica Truscek, 31
Poliana Botelho, 30

DEC. 16

Narantungalag Jadambaa, 43
Elaina Maxwell, 40
James Thompson, 40
Adriano Martins, 36
Takeya Mizugaki, 35
Won Sik Park, 32
Cody McKenzie, 31
Nicco Montano, 30

DEC. 17

Chuck Liddell, 49
Kiyoshi Tamura, 49
David Loiseau, 39
Francisco Trevino, 37
Joe Ray, 34
Matt Dwyer, 29
Aline Sattelmayer, 28

DEC. 18

Kim Couture, 43
Evan Dunham, 37
Roland Delorme, 35
Deiveson Figueiredo, 31
Gerald Meerschaert, 31
Bojan Velickovic, 30

DEC. 19

Davis Sylvester, 45
Michihiro Omigawa, 43
Satoshi Ishii, 32
Darrion Caldwell, 31
Jack Marshman, 29
Steve Montgomery, 28
Tatiana Suarez, 28
Brad Katona, 27

DEC. 20

Mark Coleman, 54
Steve Granieri, 44
Taiyo Nakahara, 36
Tristan Johnson, 35
Alexei Kudin, 34
Robert Whittaker, 28

DEC. 21

Mark Kerr, 50
Tuan Pham, 41
Masakatsu Ueda, 41
Mike Bannon, 36
Brad Tavares, 31

DEC. 22

David Branch, 37
Bentley Syler, 36
Michel Quinones, 34
Norman Parke, 32
Stephen Langdown, 26

DEC. 23

Francisco Bueno, 46
Fabricio Camoes, 40
Egidijus Valavicius, 40
Iony Razafiarison, 34
Joanne Calderwood, 32

DEC. 24

Drew Fickett, 39
Jason Miller, 38
Cyril Asker, 33
Tim Elliott, 32
Aisling Daly, 31
David Khachatryan, 31

DEC. 25

Rafael Natal, 36
Damien Brown, 34
Jordan Smith, 34
Rolando Velasco, 32
Dustin Ortiz, 30

DEC. 26

Joe Angel Zamora, 47
Jerome Le Banner, 46
Alex Stiebling, 42
Dan Hornbuckle, 38
Jesus Martinez, 35
Gregor Gracie, 32
Advin Omic, 32
Albert Tumenov, 27

DEC. 27

Liron Wilson, 46
Daniel Acacio, 41
Yosmany Cabezas, 35
Cale Yarbrough, 32
Joe Pingitore, 28

DEC. 28

Gerald Lovato, 40
Steve Mocco, 37
Richard Knepp, 35
Matt Bessette, 34
Katlyn Chookagian, 30

DEC. 29

Rumina Sato, 45
Mitsuhiro Ishida, 40
Sheila Gaff, 29
Camila Lima, 29
Joey Davis, 25

DEC. 30

Shannon Gugerty, 37
Nick Osipczak, 34
Wagner Prado, 32
Magomed Alhasov, 28
Darren Stewart, 28

DEC. 31

Ian Freeman, 48
Diego Sanchez, 37
Randy Steinke, 32
Chidi Njokuani, 30
Michael Trizano, 27

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