MMA: An In-Depth Look at BJ Penn and Sean Sherk

travis atkinsonCorrespondent IApril 22, 2008

On May 24th Sean Sherk will step back into the octagon to try and reclaim the gold he never lost.  After being accused of steroid use he was given a 6 month suspension and stripped of the belt. 

Last July Sean Sherk dominated Hermes Franca to win a 5 round unanimous decision.  Around that same time BJ Penn made his return to the octagon submitting Jens Pulver in the second round. 

 After that win BJ was granted a title shot, however due to the ongoing appeals and hearing for the steroid case BJ never got the shot. Then Dana decided on Joe Stevenson vs BJ Penn for the interim title, but then stripped Sherk and made the bout a title fight.

 Penn dominated Joe winning in the second round by rear naked choke.  In the post fight interview Penn stated: "Sean Sherk your dead" which began the heated feud.  Sherk fired back saying that he still had one more fight until he was champ.

The main question in this fight is can Sean take BJ Penn down. Back at UFC 63 Matt Hughes had trouble taking BJ down and would probably have lost the fight if BJ had not broke his rib.  BJ has incredible flexibility which poses a problem for his opponents because you can rarely find someone to match his flexibility. And with a newfound dedication to training BJ might be able to go five rounds.

Sherk's game plan is simple: he will trade shots until BJ starts getting the better of him then Sean will attempt to take BJ down and stall for five rounds, just like he did to Florian and Franca.  But Sherk hasn't fought since July so octagon rust might be a problem for him.

Over all I think it will be an interesting fight built around an amazing under card featuring Wanderlei Silva vs Keith Jardine, and the returning Tito Ortiz vs undefeated prospect Lyoto Machida.