After 25 professional mixed martial arts bouts, BJ Penn (Pictured) claims it has finally dawned on him that he can no longer cruise into the winner’s circle. Things came easy to Penn in the early stages of his fighting career, perhaps that’s why he was dubbed “The Prodigy,” but at 33 years of age, the former multi-divisional UFC champion is looking to turn it up before the lights go out.
“I’m training a lot harder,” Penn told UFC.com. “Back in the day I used to pride myself on how little I could do and get away with it. Now I try to pride myself on how much I do. I try to work real hard, train as much as I can, eat healthy food and I want to see how far I can take it.”
Of course, Penn’s rededication to his game isn’t breaking news. Fans have heard this all before. However, he states things are different this time around because his career is closer towards the end than it is the beginning, and legacies are at stake.
“Something just awoke inside of me where I said ‘What are you doing? You can beat every one of these people. You’ve been doing it half-assed all this time and it’s time to finally step up and let’s see it.’ If you can’t, you can’t, but at least you know you tried,” Penn said of his look-in-the-mirror talk.
“Words can’t explain how pumped I am about fighting right now. It’s what I am, it’s who I am and it’s what I want to be.”
After a 10-year career filled with spectacular performances, sprinkled in with some championships, Penn still can’t seem to shake his perceived cardiovascular flaw. It’s a knock he’s grown to accept from his detractors, but that doesn’t mean he’s still not out to prove them wrong.
“I think people will always bring up my cardio,” Penn stated. “Everybody wants an idea of ‘How can we beat him?’ And they’re not thinking, ‘Oh, I‘m gonna submit him’ or ‘I’m gonna knock him out.’
“Nobody wants anybody to be perfect and they want to look for something to talk about. I’m in great shape, but even after this fight I’m sure the next guy who fights me, that will be his way to beat me, too.”
The Hawaiian meets Nick Diaz on October 29th at UFC 137. The welterweights will co-headline the show inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.