After yesterday’s shock news that UFC 137’s main event between GSP and Carlos Condit has been scrapped after the champion suffered a knee injury the co-main event between BJ Penn and Nick Diaz suddenly finds itself thrust into the headline spot on the Las Vegas card.
Not content with just that Diaz’ manager Cesar Gracie has now suggested that the fight should now be contested over five rounds instead of the traditional three rounds for a non-title fight.
According to Gracie, UFC president Dana White is already on-board with the idea.
“Dana is good with it,” he told MMAfighting. “We’ve agreed to it. If BJ agrees to it, we’ll make it happen.”
Gracie suggests that the short notice switch shouldn’t be a problem for former lightweight and welterweight champion Penn given his past comments about fighting.
“BJ has always said he’s a warrior. … The old school days of MMA, back when it was NHB, they fought forever. Don’t be scared, homie. Let’s make it five rounds.”
It’s an interesting offer, but I must admit that I don’t particularly like the idea. If this had been arranged months ago then I’d have been on-board with it, but really this just seems like Gracie trying to make the most of the current situation to give Diaz a competitive advantage.
Penn’s cardio has always been something that’s been under question, while Diaz is well known to have an excellent gas tank and given that before his recent return to the UFC he was the reigning Strikeforce welterweight champion he’s been consistently training for five round fights for the past couple of years.
I’d rather see three rounds of exciting action between two guys who are proven finishers anyway rather than go the full five and have Penn fight more cautiously to conserve energy and Diaz compete more strategically to drag the Hawaiian into deeper waters.
At this moment it seems that the ultimate decision likes with Penn himself though, and so far he’s not responded to Gracie’s challenge.