The "Rush" was declared the winner during the break between the fourth and fifth round Saturday night at the MGM Grand. The call was not made by the referee, but by BJ Penn's coach.
His fighter was not looking like himself, and he didn't see any reason to simply let BJ roll into the final round just to play out an execution. The Georges St. Pierre vs. BJ Penn rematch as the UFC 94 main event was a good idea on paper, but not in flesh and blood.
BJ Penn is a smaller athlete and is used to training for and fighting against men at least 20 pounds lighter than GSP.
The welterweight category is business as usual for GSP and the incoming smaller man would be noticeably easier to dominate.
After some feeling out, GSP's body started to feel the obvious difference and he only got more confident from that point forward.
Mixed martial arts is categorized into weight classes for the very fact that pounds are crucial during leverage battles and strikes. This is the reason you don't pit grade 8 wrestlers against grade 6 wrestlers.
Regardless of the fact that the men exited the weigh ins with only two pounds separating them, GSP had to lose weight for the weigh ins, whereas BJ Penn was most likely on a calorie binge to enter the fight as close to GSP's body weight as possible.
There is no taking away credit from GSP. He fought intelligently, respecting BJ Penn's knockout power and minimizing the stand up aspect of the sport.
GSP continually looked for the take down and did so without attempting anything quick or flashy. He would approach, clinch and muzzle his way down BJ's body, look for a solid lower body grip, and leverage BJ down.
Once down, GSP meticulously chipped, not chopped, at BJ. Cumulative damage to BJ's jaw never clearly beckoned for fight stoppage, although it flirted close to that line a few times.
GSP was essentially manhandling BJ, although he never put together a devastating head blow sequence. Watching the two men, it was hard to believe they were truly in the same weight class.
In short, BJ is the only man who could march up an entire weight category and not be eaten alive by GSP within one round. He is an excellent mixed martial artist whose skill made him so bored at lightweight that he actually had to look up to another weight class where perhaps MMA's pound-for-pound best sat undaunted.
Only Anderson Silva has had to walk up a weight class to find a worthy challenge. Although UFC 94 failed to deliver a nail biter, BJ fans only need to hope their favorite MMA man re-focuses on his natural weight class and spends the next three years of his prime cementing his hall of fame worthiness.
GSP fans can rest assured their favourite son is not egotistical enough to trash talk a lighter opponent, nor fight him unintelligently. The Thiago Alves vs. GSP match up will be a bigger threat for GSP and will be a much more rewarding pay-per-view fight.