Two-straight losses is the beginning of the end to some. To others, it’s a challenge. That’s the reality BJ Penn faced after two negative results against Frankie Edgar, costing him his lightweight belt. After that he had some tense moments in his return to welterweight against Matt Hughes last Novembe.
“JD, we’ve had some tough times, but I don’t care if I win or lose, I just want to show the world why I got into this,” said Penn to his older brother, in the dressing room before the fight.
“BJ, I couldn’t care less about that,” JD replied. “Go out there and show them who you are.”
Following the brotherly exchange, Penn started shouting in the dressing room to get in the mood. And Hughes didn’t have the slightest chance, losing by knockout twenty-one seconds into the first round.
Now the hard-nosed Hawaiian, the first foreigner to win the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship as a black belt and one of the first grappling specialists to perfect his standup to such a degree, will face also-black belt Jon Fitch, who is riding a five-fight winning streak. The bout is set to go down this Saturday in Australia at UFC 127.
And for the fight BJ counted on none other than his last opponent, Matt Hughes, which whom he has fought on three occasions (two wins and one loss), to prepare himself.
“Wrestling is real tough. You have to be tough to fight and learning is hard. If you don’t start young, you won’t have the muscles to do certain positions. You need to have a strong back and neck,” he says in analysis.
BJ is one of the few fighters in the UFC to have won two distinct divisions, as have Vitor Belfort and Randy Couture. Should he beat Fitch he should get another shot, as UFC president Dana White has remarked.
“I had no idea Dana Would say that, but I feel that, in his heart, he wants me to be champion. The problems we’ve had over the years don’t matter, he’ll never admit it, but he wants me to be champion,” says BJ in closing on the official UFC website.
Check out the complete card:
February 27, 2011
Jon Fitch vs. B.J. Penn
Michael Bisping vs. Jorge Rivera
Dennis Siver vs. George Sotiropoulos
Chris Lytle vs. Brian Ebersole
Chris Camozzi vs. Kyle Noke
Spencer Fisher vs. Ross Pearson
Alexander Gustafsson vs. James Te Huna
Riki Fukuda vs. Nick Ring
Jason Reinhardt vs. Tiequan Zhang
Tom Blackledge vs. Anthony Perosh
Mark Hunt vs. Chris Tuchscherer
Maciej Jewtuszko vs. Curt Warburton