Old Dog, Same Tricks

Written by Tom Ngo
May 20th, 2008

Do what you do best and make other adjust to your game.  When MMA aficionados talk about current UFC Lightweight champion BJ Penn and how to beat him, all lay down the exact same game plan; push the pace on him, take him down, inflict some G’n P, and extend the match as long as possible.The longer the match goes, the greater chance you have to beat him. Penn is the epitome of pure natural talent, and unfortunately, has never worked hard enough on his cardio to be able to live up to all the expectations.

Like everyone else, UFC 84 opponent, and bitter rival Sean Sherk, feels that extending the fight will eventually pay off. “I’m going to make him quit…Mentally, I think he’s got some quit in him. I’ve seen it,” Sherk said. “I’ve seen it in the past. If you push him, he’ll quit.”

For all that he has accomplished and the level of respect he has garnered to the name “Penn,” he has not shown the desire to change his mentality or work ethic.

Penn himelf stated, “I’ve got just enough cardio to put you away.” Just enough? Why not prepare yourself to have more than enough? However, Penn has shown in his last two fights that he has taken things more seriously. The new Penn is lean, cut, and seemingly well conditioned.

Penn now looks to take his new found “asset” into UFC 84 where he will be making his first title defense against Sherk, but don’t look for this old dog to turn any new tricks.
 “As an experienced fighter I shouldn’t say I want to take him out in the first round…but I want to take him out in the first round,” stated a determined Penn. “I want to beat him, not by one punch but by beat down.”

Penn’s body may look different, but his mentality is still the same. Make your opponent fight your game, especially when their plan is to do the exact opposite.

“His only hope is that he can take me into the later rounds and get me tired, but this is The UFC,” stated the champion. “This isn’t boxing and Floyd Mayweather where you can run the whole fight, where you ask people to pay $60 and then run away the whole fight. This is The UFC so we’ll come out to fight.”

It’s a safe bet that the Brazilian Jui Jitsu black belt will once again do what he does. Play to his strengths on the ground and end the fight as quickly as possible.

“Sean Sherk is telling everybody ‘I can take BJ Penn down, what’s he gonna do on his back?’ The real question is: What’s Sean Sherk gonna do when he’s on HIS back? When I’m on him, and I’m elbowing his face and punching his face.”

Looks like this Penn plans on writing the same story.

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