Much has been made of UFC lightweight champion BJ Penn’s work ethic, or lack thereof. Perhaps the most naturally gifted fighter ever to set foot in an Octagon, he has never taken training seriously. After two consecutive losses to two of the UFC’s elite welterweights he decided that it was time to change his mentality and his lifestyle.
“You think you’re invincible,” Penn said of his old work habits. “You don’t think you can lose, you don’t think you can ever get hurt. I was training like a half hour-to-an hour a day. Half hour in the morning, and maybe a run at night. Never more than an hour a day.”
That type of thing may have worked six years ago, but MMA has evolved. Younger, stronger and faster fighters are rising on the scene each day, and Penn knew that if he wanted to reach his full potential, he would have to change his ways.
“I remember telling myself, this is going to be the day that I move forward,” Penn stated of his epiphany. “Now, (I’m) eating six meals a day, training five hours a day. Three hours in the morning, two hours at night.”
Since losing to his UFC 94 opponent Georges St-Pierre in March of 2006, and then to Matt Hughes shortly after, Penn has discovered great success since dropping down to the lightweight division.
His new training regime has allowed him to compile three dominant wins on his way to capturing the UFC’s 155-pound title.
His condition will be put to the ultimate test this Saturday, as he will be getting his long awaited rematch against one of the best conditioned athletes in the business. However, Penn has no doubt that he will have his hand raised come January 31st.
“Not only do I feel better, I feel a lot more confident,” stated the Hawaiian. “I feel like I can be the two-time world champ (in the) welterweight division. I feel that good.”