Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight champion BJ Penn is one of the most polarizing characters in the sport. His jiu jitsu credentials are unassailable, his technical contributions to MMA undeniable. But his attitude, which ebbs and flows between hang loose Hawaii and prideful belligerence, has earned him as many critics as fans. Having failed to take Georges St-Pierre‘s welterweight title, Penn returns to defend his lightweight strap against Kenny Florian at UFC 101: Declaration in Philadelphia, Pa. on Aug. 8. Sam Sheridan penned an excellent character study of “The Prodigy” for the October 2007 issue of FIGHT! Magazine, which you can read here. The piece is almost two years old but Sheridan’s impression of the fighter is as true today as it was when it was first published. A BJ Penn photo gallery can be found here.