BJ Penn Takes Anderson Silva-Like Mentality Towards UFC Welterweight Division

Written by Tom Ngo
April 9th, 2010

If lightweight champion BJ Penn is able to easily dispose of Frankie Edgar at “UFC 112: Invincible” as expected, it will mark Penn’s sixth consecutive victory in the division, with the last three coming in title defenses.

Considering he hasn’t lost a 155-pound scrap in over eight years, it would be tough to argue that a change of scenery isn’t warranted. Although he’s not looking past Edgar, the Hawaiian can’t resist the temptation of dipping his feet back in the welterweight pool.

“If everything goes well, I’d definitely consider moving up to 170,” Penn stated during a recent teleconference. “Not that it’s 100 percent guaranteed, but I’m thinking about it. If I do move, I’m going to move slow. I’m not going to rush anything.

“I’d think about it as testing the waters, maybe do something like Anderson [Silva] is doing [at light heavyweight].”

Although Penn’s made bold statements of jumping weight classes in the past, this theory shows he’s thoroughly contemplated his future, leading purists to believe he will be a serious threat to the welterweight crown this time around.

In order to do so, the 31-year-old understands he will need to properly add mass to his compact frame.

“There is a bunch of welterweight contenders up there. I think I am about 167.5 or 168 [pounds right now],” Penn stated. “You have got these big guys, they walk around [heavy] and they are strong, but I think it is about pushing yourself and seeing how far you go.

“It’s about failing sometimes – and failing miserably sometimes – but standing up afterwords and realizing what happened, and the mistakes that you made.”

Penn owns a dominant 15-5-1 record and will undoubtedly go down as the best lightweight to ever put on a pair of MMA gloves. However, his resume may not shine as brightly as other elites because he’s constantly pushing himself to fight the best, even if they come from different weight classes.

Jens Pulver handed Penn his only 155-pound blemish at UFC 35 in January of 2002. His other losses were courtesy of future welterweight Hall of Famers Matt Hughes and Georges St-Pierre (twice), and in an open weight tournament fight to UFC light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida back in March 2005.

“I think that I cannot picture myself becoming complacent, staying in one place,” Penn said of his undying passion for greatness. “Not that I could defend the lightweight title forever, I know that’s impossible, you can’t win every one. But, I think there is nothing wrong with pushing yourself, seeing how far can you actually go.”

“At the end of the day, it will be [UFC president] Dana White who gives me the phone call and tells me what’s on the agenda for the next fight.”

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