After UFC 118 last night, it became very apparent that the main hole in BJ's game is his corner. Having the right people in your corner is a huge part of winning a fight. Between rounds, your corner should be telling you what you need to do. What's working? What isn't working? Am I being too predictable? Corner men should be able to answer all of these questions and more.
Edgar's corner was doing an excellent job of that throughout the fight. Frankie won the fight because he stayed unpredictable, mixed his striking and take downs very well and moved back at angles (as opposed to straight back) after landing strikes to BJ so it was hard to counter. After each round what did you hear Frankie's corner telling him? To do all of those things. If he was getting predictable they let him know and he mixed things up more.
Edgar's game plan was clear and his corner fortified it. BJ Penn didn't even look like he had a game plan. For most of the fight BJ seemed confused and frustrated by Edgar, he was in obvious need of council.
His corner decided that instead of telling Penn what was working for him (leg kicks and takedowns) they would just try and motivate him by swearing a lot. Between each round BJ's corner offered no technical advice, they just basically told him to go smash Edgar. Maybe they weren't used to having to give BJ advice because he's usually so dominant?
It's clear that BJ has the skill set of one of the best (if not the best) lightweight in the world. He just had no real strategy for that fight and his corner was too incompetent to come up with one.
I think it's time for BJ to move camps. Greg Jackson's camp would be good because Jackson is an excellent strategist and BJ would have a wealth of talented fighters to work with, but there's lots of other options too. Penn needs to shake things up if he's going to climb back to the top of 155.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!