BJ Penn is probably the most talented MMA fighter in the world. The problem has been that he has always relied on talent alone when going into fights. His cardio has always been his Achilles heel. There was a period when people started to see what BJ Penn was capable of when he took training seriously. A new video posted on BJ’s website shows an in shape fighter ready to go with two weeks before the fight.
When BJ returned to the UFC and coached on the Ultimate Fighter against Jens Pulver there were the questions about BJ’s dedication. He came to the fight against Jens in phenomenal shape under the guidance of Marv Marinovich. BJ’s cardio was at top condition. He then went on a run in the lightweight division that we have never seen. Tearing through opponents, and beating them with no problem. Destroying all of the top lightweight contenders at the time including Florian, Sherk, and Sanchez.
Then going into his first Frankie Edgar fight Marinovich and Penn parted ways a month before the fight. There was a disagreement over when his training with Marv should take place and Marv requested to leave. They haven’t worked together since. It is really no surprise that BJ’s cardio has come back into question after losing two straight to Edgar, gassing out against Jon Fitch in the 3rd round (a fight BJ was winning easily going into third round, but a 10-8 round caused a draw), and then looking like an aged fighter against Nick Diaz.
After the Diaz fight BJ declared in the post fight interview that he was done. Some fans were happy to see BJ go into retirement. He was just dominated by Diaz and didn’t look like fighting was in his heart any more. Then less than a year later there were talks of a return to the octagon for BJ. News broke that he turned down a fight with Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez. Then Rory MacDonald called out BJ Penn.
BJ signed to fight the highly talented MacDonald at UFC 152. Considering how badly Diaz beat Penn, MaCDonald was coming into the fight as the favorite. MaCDonald is 13-1 with his only loss coming to Carlos Condit. A fight MacDonald was winning handily going into the third round, but he gassed badly in the final round allowing Condit to get the TKO with just 7 seconds left in the fight. Macdonald was cut badly during training, and the fight was rescheduled for UFC on Fox 5.
As always BJ’s cardio is the question . The video shows an in shape BJ that we have not seen since his fight against Sanchez. If BJ’s cardio is on point then there is no doubt in my mind that BJ wins this fight. There is still two weeks until the fight though and cardio deteriorates very quickly. Lets hope he keeps it up and we see a great fight December 8th at UFC on Fox 5.