B.J. Penn is the No. 1 Lightweight, and That's the Way it Should Be

Christopher DiCarlo@OfficialCJGatzContributor IIMarch 6, 2010

If you see Shinya Aoki or Eddie Alvarez as the World's No. 1 lightweight on any websites' MMA rankings, they are a joke.

After B.J. Penn destroyed Diego Sanchez in December, it is clear that Penn is the world's top lightweight.

I'm not the biggest B.J. Penn fan, but he's definitely changing my mind about him. Early in Penn's career, I thought he was a waste of talent, and so did a lot of other people.

Penn would hardly ever train, and had no strength or conditioning coaches, and that would get me so mad. Mostly because he would still win! He is such a naturally talented fighter that if he had trained as hard as he could, he would have been No. 1 in the world a long time ago.

Seeing B.J. Penn now is a total 360 degree change. He finally got a strength and conditioning training camp, and he is in the best shape of his career. After that loss to George St. Pierre, he changed for the better, and I think it's the best thing that ever happened to him.

Now B.J. can't be beat, and I'm convinced of that. Not even Shinya Aoki can beat him, and he was ranked No. 1 for a long time. But my theory is, you're not the best until you prove it in the UFC. I feel the same about Fedor, but that's a different story.

Penn has cleared out the lightweight division, and a lot of people think there is nobody that can even challenge him. So what's next for B.J.?

I say he adds weight and moves up to welterweight. He shouldn't get a direct shot at St. Pierre, or any champion for that matter, but he has the potential to be that guy.

"The Prodigy" is set to take on Frankie Edgar in Abu Dhabi at UFC 112 on April 10. This is a very interesting match up, and could be the last lightweight title fight for a while. If Penn wins, I'm excited to see what he plans on doing with his future. Hopefully he does move up a division.

That is the next test for B.J., for me. If he does in fact become a welterweight, I can completely respect him as a man, and a fighter. Him moving up shows me he wants to be the best mixed martial artist ever. That's what every fighter strives for, but I never saw that from Penn in the past.

So, I'm very excited to see what "The Prodigy" will decide to do with his future. But for right now, he is the No. 1 lightweight in the world, and will remain the best for a long time.