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BJ Penn still eying welterweight

When Kevin Iole’s latest article spoke about Huerta-Florian being for a vacant belt if BJ Penn beats Sean Sherk, I had my fingers crossed that it was just standard another gasbag assumption Iole is known for. But then there it was, in BJ’s own words:

White has urged him to stick at lightweight and clean out the division before thinking of moving up in weight. In the past, Penn has talked of holding at least three championships simultaneously.

He’s largely upheld his end of the bargain, but if he manages to beat Sherk on Saturday, expect him to plead for a bout with welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre. St. Pierre narrowly edged Penn in a 2006 bout in which Penn began strong and then faded due to poor conditioning.

White has announced that the winner of the Roger Huerta-Kenny Florian bout at UFC 87 in August will get the next crack at the lightweight belt, but if Penn is successful, it’s almost certain the Huerta-Florian winner will be fighting for a vacant title.

“Honestly, if I go out there and I destroy Sean Sherk in one round, I’m really going to have a hard time getting motivated to fight Florian or Huerta,” Penn said. “No matter what anybody says, it would be hard. A fight with Matt Hughes would be a great one for Hawaii, but a fight with St. Pierre, that would be one for the world.”

This blows my mind. The first half of the article was talking about how a mature Penn is going to make his mark on the world as one of the greatest fighters ever. If you ask me, a dude who wants to move up better prove that he can defend his belt first. This is why so few people want to see Georges St Pierre move up to fight Anderson Silva – the dude hasn’t even managed to successfully defend his belt once! And now we have BJ Penn talking about bouncing after one defense.

While going out and trying to collect belts is a great way to earn respect as a warrior, it’s the guys who took on all comers and maintained their championship over time that have developed legacies in the UFC. Chuck Liddell held his belt for two years. Matt Hughes has five years as the welterweight champion. Fuck, even Rich Franklin established a respectful reign over 16 months. It doesn’t take long. But Penn is up to four months and already talking of bouncing. Come on now.

Hey, as a fan I couldn’t give a shit – watching Penn struggle against the bigger guys at welterweight would be fun. But if he drops his belt before really proving he’s the best at lightweight and just ends up back in the welterweight shuffle, he’s not going to be proving he’s the greatest to anyone. Real champions stick around and face all comers.

  • Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    Penn’s record at 155 is so much better than his record even at 170 that it’s not funny. He Should Not be thinking about doing anything at higher weight classes right now.

    And for the record, I don’t think he can take GSP, and I don’t think he’s going to murder Sherk in one round either (though I do think he’s going to win).

  • x5BoltMainx says:

    Preach on!!

    That’s why most people love Chuck & Hughes because they took on everyone that they threw at them & defended their belts.

  • I guess BJ’s ego matched the literal size of his head.

  • Nachtfalter says:

    I think Dana said sometime (I read in in some sort of article at that if BJ were to beat Sherk AND the winner of Huerta/Florian he would consider that cleaning out the division, meaning BJ would have his blessing to fight in other weight classes as well then. I don’t really know if I agree with that or not, but stepping up to another weight class after ONE title defense would be way, way, way too soon. If BJ has “a hard time motivating himself” that’s his fucking problem, but the right way to combat his motivational issues certainly isn’t getting his ass handed to him at welterweight (even though it would be fun to watch, obviously).

  • RL Dookiefuck says:

    Yeah looking past Sean Sherk is probably a good idea.

  • kwagnuth says:

    He’s not helping the LW division. He should just shut up and fight. Plus he will have an even harder time keeping his cardio strong at WW. Im sure all the lightweights are real happy to hear his comments about not being motivated to fight them.

  • yenny says:

    “Real Champions stick around and face all comers”.
    BJ is champ by definition and by defeating the contenders or champs.

    I don’t think the belt all that important to him. I think it’s more important to him to fight bad asses. In that, he prefers to pick and call out his opponents, and they happen to be really good. This is opposite of most fighters who pick their opponents. BJ is picking just about the baddest guy at WW in GSP, just like he picked Hughes when Hughes was fearsome. Remember, BJ wanting to fight Wanderlei at the peak of his reign?

    That said, I think Florian is a real threat to Penn.

  • Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    Penn couldn’t beat Machida when he fought him at … fuckin’ 213 or whatever Machida weighed back then.

    Machida’s a better fighter now than he was then, and I’m not sure that HE would be able to beat Silva now. Penn would have no chance.

  • godzillad says:

    Machida came in at 99kg, BJ came in at 87.

  • Method says:

    I’d like to see him defend it once more, but I’ve definitely wanted to see that GSP Penn rematch since the original. BJP + cardio = scary my friends.

  • Mobb Deep says:

    I rather see BJ take on GSP than tool another LW contender in bloody fashion. No one is a threat to BJ at 155, as we will see tommorow. BJ knows this, and I’m suprised you fuckers don’t.

  • Asbel says:

    If Penn can beat Sherk in 1 round, he deserves to move up. But he won’t.

  • shantel says:

    You all need to remember that matt and chuck are tight ass with Dana and they get to sit around for a few years with there belts and pick there fights.. BJ Penn had to take UFC to court to be able to fight again, lets not forget he had a belt taken from him too so Dana and BJ is not on the best terms.. i would bounce right outta there too, Dana is gonna throw the hardest hitters against BJ in every class so it doesnt matter cause BJ will take them all.. Lets not forget how talented BJ is minus the cardio and training which he never did in the past.. BJ+cardio= ANIMAL… nuff said.. BJ rock on