The final member of the Hall of Fame class of 2015 will be legendary two-time, two-division UFC world champion BJ Penn as takes his place in the Modern Era category. The news was made official during the FOX Sports 1 broadcast of UFC 187.

During his 13-year, the Hawaiin ammased a record 16-10-2 professional mixed martial arts career,

The Modern Era category recognizes great fighters who turned professional on or after November 17, 2000, when the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts were created and widely adopted. Penn turned professional on May 4, 2001, at UFC 31.

“It is our honor to induct BJ Penn into the UFC Hall of Fame,” stated UFC President Dana White. “He was one of those stars who helped build the UFC. When we bought this company, we were told no-one cared about lightweights. BJ Penn not only made people care, he was one of the biggest draws in UFC history. And what he accomplished inside the Octagon speaks for itself – he is one of only two people to win two UFC titles in two different divisions and he beat a who’s who of his era. He is a legend and a no-brainer for the UFC Hall of Fame.”

Born Jay Dee Penn on December 13, 1978, “Baby Jay” is believed to have earned a legitimate Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt faster than any practitioner of the martial art. He was awarded the honor by André Pederneiras in 2000, aged 20, less than three years after taking his first lesson. Penn validated his black belt status just weeks later, when he became the first American to ever win the black belt division of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships.

Because of the speed of Penn’s achievements in BJJ, he was dubbed “The Prodigy,” a nickname that followed him through his MMA career.

The first UFC championship came at welterweight, when he choked out the previously unstoppable Matt Hughes in the opening round of their UFC 46, January 2004, clash. However, Penn never defended the title, spending the next two years competing outside of the UFC organization.

Upon returning to the division in 2007, Penn embarked on a three year reign of terror. He swiftly avenged his first career loss to Jens Pulver before winning the vacant 155lbs title with a one-sided beatdown of Joe Stevenson at UFC 80. In winning the title, Penn became only the second man to hold two UFC titles in two weight divisions. He then defended the belt against former champion Sean Sherk, and surging contenders Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez in impressive fashion before finally losing the title to Frankie Edgar in 2010.

Along the way Penn also attempted to win back the UFC welterweight title, in a rematch of a very close and controversial fight vs Georges St-Pierre. The UFC 94, January 2009, main event was a rare UFC champion vs UFC champion superfight and one of the biggest fights of the decade.

Penn’s final win came in November 2010, at UFC 123, when he knocked out his great rival turned friend Matt Hughes in 21-seconds, winning their trilogy 2-1. Penn last competed one year ago, losing a somber fight against nemesis Frankie Edgar at International Fight Week 2014.

Now, 12 months later, Penn will be given the send-off his legendary career deserves.

Penn joins Pioneer Era inductee Bas Rutten, Fight inductee Matt Hughes vs Frank Trigg II and Contributor Jeff Blatnick to complete to 2015 UFC Hall of Fame class.

The UFC Hall of Fame 2015 induction ceremony will take place on July 11 as part of the UFC Fan Expo in Las Vegas. Fans with tickets to the UFC Fan Expo will be able to attend the UFC Hall of Fame 2015 event for no additional cost. Tickets to the UFC Fan Expo are available at www.ufcfanexpo.com with two-day passes beginning at $60 online and $65 onsite. One-day passes begin at $35 online and $45 onsite.

About The Author

News Manager

José began his career as a mixed martial arts journalist while still enrolled at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. Since graduating in May 2013, he has attended dozens of high profile UFC fight cards as a credentialed member of the media, providing live cage side coverage through his articles and videos. His work has appeared on UFC.com, ArizonaSports.com and AZCentral. He is also currently one of the main contributors on Power MMA Show at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, one of the first all MMA radio shows on a major radio station.