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BJ Penn’s plan is stupid

Everyone’s been oohing and aaahing BJ Penn’s stupid plan to take it easy and not fight that often:

BJ Penn, who will be taking on Joe Stevenson for the interim UFC lightweight belt in January, has a rough career plan outlined for himself based on longevity. He told, “I don’t want to do the five fights a year thing for three years and then I’m done, like all these fighters have done-I want to do one to two fights a year for the next ten years. I want to keep my name out there for the next ten years.”

Hey, that would be all well and good if the universe existed in a bubble and nothing changed over time. As it stands, BJ Penn is on the same cusp as Matt Hughes and Chuck Liddell are … watching as the next generation of MMA fighters step up and take shit to the next level. They haven’t been pushed out yet and they’ll still be top tier for the next few years, but 5 years from now? Questionable. 10 years? No way in hell.

MMA is still a really young sport … in ten years you’re going to be seeing the first crop of kids who were brought up by rabid MMA fans … parents who sent their kids to martial arts schools with the idea of turning them into little Georges St Pierres and Randy Coutures. I can’t even imagine the skills this generation of fighters will bring to the table.

BJ Penn loves a challenge, so perhaps that’s what this is all about. There’s no real point for him fighting the Joe Stevensons of the lightweight division just to fight them. Waiting for the right opponents, challenging yourself with them, and not wasting your time on fights which aren’t really worth fighting … I can understand that.

But there’s a good chance BJ is gonna get left in the dust as the sport evolves, like Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, and Igor Vovchanchyn already have been.

  • Lifer says:

    I think if anyone is going to have longevity and the skills to fight another 10 years it’s going to be bj penn.

  • maafaka says:

    i kinda agree with Mike Rome on BE ( i think its the inevitable trend set by the UFC to preserve whats left of their poster boys crediblity and slow down the mess caused by the last upsets…

  • RT says:

    This has nothing to with this other than Matt hughes needs an opponent now but……….Serra Injured, Withdraws From UFC 79 Card
    By Jeff Comstock
    Posted on Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 04:15:57 AM EDT is reporting that:
    UFC President Dana White announced Thursday that Matt Serra will have to withdraw from the UFC 79 card due to an injury he suffered after his training earlier this week.

    The current UFC welterweight champion, who was scheduled to fight Matt Hughes at UFC 79, suffered a herniated disc in his lower back on Monday following a routine training session in his Long Island gym. “This is devastating news because they were so looking forward to fighting each other, said White.

    “Unfortunately injuries happen and I look forward to Serra recovering quickly, and to getting him back into the Octagon.” Serra had just finished a Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling training session and was demonstrating a move when he became gripped with pain and fell to the floor. Serra went to the hospital and underwent an MRI, which revealed the herniated discs in his lower back.

    “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” said Serra. “I’ve never had a back injury before; I could hardly get off of the MRI table. There is no way I can train through this, and I’m devastated, especially because this was such an important fight. I was looking forward to fighting Matt Hughes. All my training was going phenomenally until Monday – All I can do now is to get better and to fight again as soon as possible.”
    Well that sucks!

    Yes it’s brilliant analysis like that, which earned me the job of staff writer. Seriously though…it sucks.

  • Mobb Deep says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOO. That fucking blows. Think fast Dana, think fast.

  • Accomando says:

    Hughes vs. GSP for interim title

  • Chris says:

    I’m surprised that you picked on BJ Penn of all people – he seems to me as the epitome of the “evolutionary” MMA fighter. He came into the UFC as an acclaimed sport Jiu Jitsu player, but has since really rounded out his game – he has fully incorporated strikes into his offense on the ground, unlike a lot of world-class Jiu Jitsu guys. He definitely has good stand-up: he was outstriking GSP in their fight, and he definitely has good wrestling: he took down Jens Pulver at will, and Matt Hughes had a hell of a time getting him down. BJ, in terms of his understanding of the sport and its various facets, probably knows as much as anyone – all the interviews I’ve seen of him would confirm this.

    As for the next generation of MMA, I’m not sure we’ll see that big of a change. Most of the guys that fight now, that started their combat sport training in MMA tend to be “jack-of-all-trades, master of none”” sorts, who ultimately aren’t very good. I think, fundamentally, success in MMA at the highest level comes from mastery of one the ranges. With very rare exceptions (GSP comes to mind), I don’t think it is possible to become, say an elite wrestler or grappler without spending 15 years of your life just focusing on that.

  • I’m jsut saying he wants to be on top for 10 years instead of being on top for 2-3, and it’s going to be VERY hard for him to accomplish this. There’s a laundry list of fighters who are going down because they just can’t hack it with the new breed, if it’s because of training or because of their bodies not holding up or because mentally they’re just not where they need to be any more. I like BJ but I don’t think he’ll manage to stay on top for longer than 2-3 more years.

  • Michaelthebox says:

    BJ is probably the best bet of all the “old-school” fighters to remain top-tier for another 10 years.

    First, he’s younger than all the other old-school fighters, he’s younger than Rampage and nobody looks at Rampage as a guy who is going to fall off in the near future.

    Second, talent wise, he’s head and shoulders above almost every fighter in the game, and certainly all the old-school fighters. The old school fighters are having to contend with younger fighters who are just as if not more talented; Penn is unlikely to face many fighters over the rest of his career with as much talent as he has.

    Third, Penn has already shown a willingness to keep adapting and improving his skills, something many older fighters have difficulty doing. Despite being considered a BJJ ace, Penn’s striking is already better than most in the LW division. He’s simply a complete all-around fighter.

    Fourth, he has had only 16 pro fights in his career; he hasn’t had the wear-and-tear even of many fighters younger than him. He’s never been KO’d or even really TKO’d, head trauma is unlikely to slow him down anytime soon.

    Finally, many people look at boxing as a comparison as to why younger fighters will dominate, as the peak boxing years tend to be mid-20s. I disagree; boxing is a relatively limited skillset, so any dropoff in athleticism can end a fighter’s career. I think MMA is complex enough to be more comparable to baseball, where most competitors reach their peak in their late 20s and many elite competitors remain elite into their late 30s.

  • Mike_N says:

    Isn’t this a prime example of what fans were saying turned them off to boxing? Waiting forever to watch their favorite fighters, the wrangling to make simple fights happen…

    I mean, regardless of whether you like Matt Hughes or not, the guy fought four times in a one-year span against Royce, BJ, St. Pierre, and Lytle. Barring injury, that seems like a pretty decent schedule.

    I’m a huge fan of BJ’s, but I’m not really thrilled about the prospects of only seeing him fight once a year.

  • TINO says:

    Agreed Mike_N. BJ needs to realize this is about me and my entertainment…not him the selfish Bastard.

  • ajadoniz says:

    Dana White: That’s cute, BJ.

  • Xavier says:

    Read everything, learn nothing. This “future crop of guys who know everything” will never appear. Everyone will always have one specialty, otherwise we’ll end up with a bunch of guys who are mediocre at everything.

  • operator says:

    So if he holds a belt he only defends it once or twice a year. One thing I can respest about Matt hughes is he was a fighting champion. I wouldn’t take BJ ‘s comments too seriously though I think it was around a year ago he was talking about fighting in every weight division all the way up to heavyweight. He dropped his belt to go fight in Japan then he begged to come back so I think he changes his plans on a monthly basis.

  • Fred says:

    Excellent points, Fightlinker. I didn’t like BJ’s comment about fighting once or twice a year, but for the reason that it makes him look lazy. You have a very good point that the guy ought to fight as much as he can while he’s ahead of the curve. In 5 or 10 years, there’s a great chance he won’t be able to hang with the best, even in 100% condition and with excellent training camps. I think guys like JZ and Shaolin could already beat BJ.

    Lauzon already hinted that BJ has to be prodded by people around him to train hard. I see BJ winning a handful more big fights, and then getting overwhelmed by the “next generation” that Fightlinker spoke of. BJ is going to be one of those guys who we’ll always wonder about in terms of his potential.

  • kermit_01 says:

    He’s already only been fighting twice a year for quite awhile..
    2 fights in 03 – 3 fights in 04 – 2 fights in 05 – 2 fights in 06 and 2 fights in 07.

    Not to mention hes lost 3 out of his last 5 fights.