It’s not hard to convince a wide swath of MMA followers that BJ Penn is undoubtedly one of the best lightweights the sport has ever seen. Newcomers have already been able to witness the man’s greatness as he recently demolished Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez in back-to-back title defenses. Long-time fans will surely tell of such epic Penn victories over the likes of Pulver, Hughes and Stevenson.
Fast-forward to UFC 112 and the casual fan who may have caught this as their first or second event saw Baby Jay frustrated and unable to put the hurt on now-champion Frankie “The Answer” Edgar. New Jersey resident and college wrestling standout Edgar lived up to every ounce of his nickname that night in Abu Dhabi at “112” and successfully delivered a solution to the problem which had been how to penetrate Penn’s impeccable takedown defense while avoiding fight-ending blows in the process.
What I find myself thinking through the most in the lead-up to this lightweight title fight is how BJ has stated several times in various interviews over the past year that he wishes to soon cement a legacy. His athletic career won’t last forever and he clearly knows time is of the essence in such a physically demanding career. With his dreams of owning both the 170 and 155 lbs. divisions at the highest level of competition now severed in half by the man known affectionately known as “GSP”, the proud Hawaiian scrapper with a brilliant ground game has a chance to avenge a tough loss, further cement the aforementioned legacy at his natural weight class and have that UFC gold wrapped back around his waist. Quite simply – BJ Penn can conjure a massive night come August 28.