There’s an old adage that suggests, ‘If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.’ Although Matt Hughes posted a TKO victory over BJ Penn at UFC 63, the Hall of Famer opted to assist his former foe prepare for his pivotal UFC 127 showdown against Jon Fitch.
“I kept thinking, ‘Who is going to try to grind me out, push me against the fence and do that ground ‘n pound stuff?’ I think Matt’s the guy. Matt’s the guy for the job,” Penn confidently told KHON2.com.
“We were talking about it last night while we were standing in the ring. He was like, ‘Come on, I’m Fitch. That’s my style, [to] push you down [and] I’m gonna take you down and beat on you.’”
Speaking of getting roughed up, it took Penn all of 21 seconds to put Hughes to sleep in their trilogy at UFC 123. He also submitted Hughes for his welterweight title in their initial meeting in January of 2004. Regardless, Hughes believes he and Fitch possess very similar fighting styles that could go a long way in prepping Penn.
“Fitch and I do a lot of the same things on our feet and on the ground,” Hughes shared. “I have watched some tape on Fitch and I think I can come up with a good game plan of what Fitch is going to do against BJ, and that’s why I am here.”
While Fitch owns a dominant 23-3 professional record, with his only loss in his last 22 outings coming at the hands of 170-pound king Georges St-Pierre, Hughes believes Penn will reign supreme as long as his mind is right.
“With BJ, it’s all about his mindset. If he’s gonna go in there [thinking] he’s gonna take that win, he will win. If BJ is strong-minded, he’s gonna get his hand raised at the end.”
UFC 127 takes place February 26th inside the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia. The welterweight studs will headline the Octagon’s return to the land down under.
Please click the media player below to watch the icons practice (At the :58 mark):
(Props to MiddleEasy)