By Benjamin Bieker
“Martial Arts is about the small man beating the big men.”- BJ Penn
In the sport of MMA, the word Prodigy is synonymous with one fighter. None other than former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion BJ Penn, but Penn has started to hear others call his future opponent Rory MacDonald the “new” prodigy. This upsets Penn, and not because they have given away his moniker. No, it’s because he does not believe that MacDonald is deserving of the title. The above quote from Penn shows his thoughts on the sport of MMA, and for small men to beat big men they must use technique. Something that MacDonald has none of according to Penn.
“MacDonald thinks it’s(MMA) about size and strength… It’s all about skill and technique… It’s hard to call him the prodigy because he has no technique. He’s the bulldozer prodigy. I’m a cobra prodigy.”
All this talk about how in shape Penn is, his increased muscle mass, and his mindset are all footnotes to his game plan. It looks like Penn believes he will win this fight by exploiting MacDonald’s holes with his sound technique. The use of technique to beat bigger opponents is something Penn learned long ago as a kid being taught Jiu Jitsu, and something Royce Gracie proved long ago in the first UFC.
Some may ask why has BJ Penn started to care now? Why has he decided to start proving he is the best after not being dedicated most of his career? The answer is simple, because he wants to be known as one of the greatest of all time. Penn wants to prove to himself, more than anyone, that he can compete with and beat the next big thing at 170 or 155.
“Five years ago, if you talked about who is the greatest, my name would be in the conversation… At 25. I was the best lightweight and the best welterweight in the world. All I want is to be known as is the greatest.”
Do not think that this reinvigorated Penn has scared his opponent any. MacDonald was throwing former interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit around the octagon at age 20. He currently is 13-1 with six submission victories, six TKO or KO victories, and only went to a decision with the current number one lightweight contender Nate Diaz. If you listen to MacDonald, “(BJ Penn) just another fighter on the way to losing.”
What are your thoughts?