In March of 2006, BJ "The Prodigy" Penn and Georges "Rush" St. Pierre went to war at UFC 58. After three 5-minute rounds, St. Pierre claimed a split decision victory. Six months later, Penn lost to Matt Hughes at UFC 63 via TKO-strikes in the third round.
For the first time in Penn’s MMA career, he had lost two consecutive fights. In what it seemed to be the beginning of a slump for the Hawaiian fighter, actually ended up being the best thing that could have happened to him. Penn bounced back after a 9-month break, acquiring a win over Jens "Little Evil" Pulver at the TUF 5 Finale. The Prodigy went on to win the following two fights against Joe "Daddy" Stevenson and then to his most recent win against Sean "The Muscle Shark" Sherk.
At this rate, Penn looks to be at the peak of his career and seems to be almost unstoppable. On January 31st, 2009– BJ Penn will be tested once again as he will battle it out with current UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre in a rematch bout no true UFC fan will miss.
In a recent interview with ufc.com, this is what BJ Penn had to say:
“I’ve already started doing the mental preparation…I feel like I’m already one week out from the fight. I’m not peaking
too soon, but my coaches and everybody, we’re having the ‘one week out’
talk three months out, and we’re just pumped for this. But we’ve been
at this for a long time though, so it’s not like we’re gonna go over
the edge and fall off…Georges is so much better than the last time we fought. I’m not just
gonna go in there and start unloading my hands and he’s gonna start
getting confused and getting beat up. He’s got about ten other answers
when I start doing this to him and they’re going to go back and watch
the tape and formulate another 20 ideas about what to do when BJ starts
doing all these things. He’s gonna be ready…Jiu-jitsu was created where the small man can beat the big man, and
I’ve been doing jiu-jitsu since I was 17 years old, and that has always
stuck in my head throughout all the time and all the way until now…It’s ingrained in me that I believe I have a chance. I know that
something’s gonna happen, the guy’s gonna make a mistake and I’m gonna
get that armlock or get that choke…The shape I’m gonna be in, it’s gonna be a thing of who wants it more…He’s this good, I’m this good (holds both hands up to the same level).
I feel I’m better technically, but when you’re such a great athlete,
you have no choice but to always use your athleticism when you cannot
do the technique right. You can make things work just because you’re a
great athlete. I’m an athlete, but I wouldn’t say I’m a gifted athlete.
He is. I’m gifted up here (points to his temple). I’m not gifted
throughout my body. I’m flexible and a strong guy. But this is the
greatest athlete in the world against the greatest fighting mind in the
world. That’s what you’ve got right here.”