UFC 123: What Matt Hughes Must Do To Beat BJ Penn

Robert GardnerSenior Analyst INovember 16, 2010

On Saturday night, November 20, live from The Palace at Auburn Hills MMA fans all over the world will be treated to what, on paper, should be a spectacular night of fights.

While the main attraction of the evening features two of the worlds most dominate light-heavyweights, the fight that seems to have everyone talking is the welterweight clash between all-time greats, Matt Hughes and BJ Penn.

Penn is currently riding a two-fight losing streak and rather than trying to regain his strangle hold on the lightweight division he has decided to move up to welterweight and test himself in that division once more.

Matt Hughes, on the other hand, is coming into this fight on the back of three straight wins, including an impressive first round Submission of the Night victory over BJJ belt, Ricardo Almeida.

Expect to see a great fight between these two living legends Saturday night as both men look to further their legacies and settle the score once and for all.

I’ll be honest, I am a huge BJ Penn fan and I believe that he is the more dangerous fighter of the two but while I do favor Penn in this matchup, Matt Hughes is one of the greatest welterweights in the history of the sport and he could very easily send Penn reeling with a third straight loss.

To do that Matt Hughes is going to need to fight his fight. By that I mean, be the more physical fighter and break the will of Penn.

For as great as Penn is technically inside the cage, the biggest question mark surrounding him has always been his mental fortitude. Penn loses fights when his opponent is able to dictate the pace and the tempo of the fight, something Matt Hughes has always been able to do.

If Hughes is able to get Penn to the ground and punish him from the top with punches and elbows, he will be able to break him and Hughes will win this fight.

If he can’t and he allows Penn to find his timing and range in the standup game, then it will be a long night for Matt Hughes.

Who will win?

My heart says Penn, but as much as this pains me to say, I think the smart money is on Matt Hughes.