Jason Head_Shot[1]

By Jason Sutcliffe

My prayers have been answered; BJ Penn will return to the octagon at Featherweight to take on Frankie Edgar in a trilogy bout. Since the induction of the featherweight division into the UFC I have personally thought that where BJ belonged, I have debated this with people for a while.

BJ Penn’s issue has always been his conditioning. It is no secret that BJ is one of the greatest natural talents this sport has ever seen, but his work ethic has left a lot to be desired. When Penn comes into the octagon prepared there is no one better.

When Penn fights closer to his natural weight his conditioning is never an issue. That is until his fights with Edgar. I personally believe as though Penn had ruled the roost for so long that he had begun to take his reign as champion for granted.

Penn’s heart and warrior spirit in many cases has been his worst enemy. Most fighters do what is best for their careers and fight at a weight class that offers them the most advantages come fight night. Not Penn. BJ has never given jumping divisions a second thought. He is willing to give opponents huge size advantages in order to fight at welterweight or higher.

When he takes to the cage to fight at Featherweight, he will have fought in five different divisions during his career. He is a warrior he fought as high as heavyweight taking Lyoto Machida to a decision.

He seems extremely motivated to get back in the octagon with Frankie Edgar. I for one think that is just part of the reason. BJ has talked about his legacy on a number of occasions and his desire to go down as one of the best in history. I think he is motivated to be the only person in the sport to hold a title in 3 divisions. Can BJ do it? Only time will tell.

However, I do think that everything is aligned for BJ to make a solid run at it. Usually when BJ has problems it is when the bigger guys lean on him and make him carry their weight. Guys like Rory, George and Nick who could all fight at middleweight easily. At 145, it is going to be more challenging to do.

In order for BJ to make 145 he is going to have to put more emphasis on his cardio, conditioning and diet. That will pay huge dividends for him, and ultimately bring him into the octagon in tremendous condition. He says he is feeling great after the eye surgery and has been doing a lot more cardio than he has in the past, so I am looking forward to seeing how BJ looks on fight night.

All that aside, I am looking forward to the interaction between Penn and Edgar on the Ultimate Fighter as coaches.

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