BJ Penn: Truly Untouchable at 155lbs?
In a little under two months, BJ Penn defends his UFC Lightweight Championship for the fourth time as he takes on Frankie "The Answer" Edgar in Abu Dhabi. For Penn, defending the title is nothing new, he's already seen off top contenders such as Sean Sherk, Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez. All with relative ease too.
That is perhaps the most frightening thing about Penn, people just don't trouble him. Sean Sherk couldn't take him down and as a consequence he was stopped by Penn standing up.
What about Florian?
He didn't have any answers. He pressed Penn against the cage and didn't do a lot from that position. He didn't have much luck standing up either, and once Penn took him to the ground and mounted him, the result was inevitable.
Most recently, Diego Sanchez stepped up to the plate. Diego Sanchez, who won his first 17 professional fights, the man who won the Ultimate Fighter Season 1 at 185lbs, the man who was seen as BJ's biggest challenge. Penn destroyed him.
Penn thoroughly outclassed Sanchez stood up and stopped him for the first time in his career when he opened up a nasty cut on his forehead. BJ Penn landed more punches on himself celebrating after the match than Sanchez did in the whole match.
If you were to try and think of a way to beat Penn, you'd struggle.
He possesses an iron chin. Nobody has ever knocked him down. Not ever. Thinking of submitting him?
BJ won the BJJ world championships after only three years of training. One common tactic for his opponents is to outlast him. Sean Sherk seemed to approach their match with that in mind, as did Diego Sanchez more recently.
Look where that got them. People who want to outlast BJ have to be able to actually get into the fourth and fifth rounds without being brutalized when trying to do so. Even then, would they outlast BJ? He always enters fights in good shape and prepares well these days, he's hardly a slouch.
Next up is Frankie Edgar. Edgar looked impressive as he picked apart a former lightweight champion in Sean Sherk at UFC 98. Edgar is an exciting fighter who holds three fight of the night honors and has only been defeated once in his career.
Is he "the answer" to BJ Penn's lightweight dominance though?
With all due respect to Frankie Edgar, I don't think so. Penn has superior boxing and I can't see Edgar taking Penn down, in fact, I can see it being similar to the Sanchez match.
After Edgar, who else remains?
I can't see either of them giving Penn any trouble either. Maynard had to really grind out a narrow win against Nate Diaz and didn't look overly impressive in doing so. Sotiropoulos has a lot of momentum coming off his UFC 110 victory over Joe Stevenson but I'd like to see him claim a win over one more contender at 155lbs, perhaps Kenny Florian.
For Penn, he won't be looking past Frankie Edgar, but we all know that he's coming close to cleaning out the lightweight division in the UFC and I for one fail to see who's capable of stopping that.
Outside of the UFC, there's a certain Shinya Aoki who I'd love to see Penn face, but that isn't happening anytime soon. Right now, Penn sits at the top of the world's best assembly of lightweight fighters, and doesn't look like moving aside anytime soon.
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