BJ Penn was not as dominant as usual in his first match against Frankie Edgar. In the rematch at UFC 118, he wasn't even himself.
The future of Penn is quite uncertain. Many MMA fans figured he simply had a bad night during his first match against Edgar. Now, though, some fans are uncertain about Penn being in the game altogether.
A lot of speculations surrounds Penn and his destination, whether or not he will bump up to welterweight or work his way back to the ranks of the lightweight championship. One thing is certain, though: he needs a fight or two to get his mojo back.
So what is the best way for Penn to get back on track? Work his way back up in the lightweight division.
The whole reason fans wanted to see Penn move up to the welterweight division was because he was lacking competition. Now with guys like Gray Maynard overshadowing Kenny Florian and Edgar beating Penn twice, it's safe to say the lightweight division is once again competitive, and this is exactly why Penn should stay.
So who should Penn fight in an attempt to regain his dominant status? Clay Guida.
Guida has what is quite nearly a cult following. He probably has more heart than anyone in the Octagon if not all of MMA, and no matter the outcome of his fights, he doesn't stop going 100% and gives Octagon street cred to anyone who fights him.
Guida is as tough as fighters come. He's been beaten, sure, but even his losses are spectacular fights. Take the beatings he gave to Roger Huerta and Diego Sanchez. Granted those were losses on his record, Guida pushed the pace enough to make even the average viewer completely intoxicated.
In fact, many consider the Guida/Sanchez fight to be one of the best fights of all time.
After two back-to-back wins by submission, Guida has proved he still wants to fight. A win over Penn would catapult him in the lightweight division and once again put him in line to fight for a title shot.
If Penn won, he would regain some of the status that he lost in his matches against Frankie Edgar.
This isn't a case against Penn and his dominance in the UFC. However, the truth of the matter is that he certainly hasn't performed like the BJ who beat Matt Hughes, Diego Sanchez, Kenny Florian, Sean Sherk, and Joe Stevenson.
When you compare the two, Penn definitely overshadows Guida in all areas, especially when it comes to succeeding against top tier opponents. However, in considering his last fight, Penn was hardly a shadow of himself. A fight against Guida would prove whether or not he still has the drive to get back to the top.
Guida has similar conditioning to Edgar, and he's more of an accomplished wrestler. Guida is willing to stand and trade with anyone he faces, and regardless of the outcome, this can only work to the benefit of both fighters.
By adding a victory over Guida to his repertoire, though, Penn could have a great start at rising back to the top.
What do you think? Be sure to leave a comment.