For many years BJ Penn was focused on just winning. It was a simple and effective outlook, leading him to become both a lightweight and welterweight champion in the UFC, and to be regarded as one of the sports most talented fighters.
It hasn’t always worked out though. Two losses to George St.Pierre at 170lbs, and more recently back-to-back defeats to Frankie Edgar at 155lbs have taken some of the shine off his record, leaving him 16-7-1 heading into his fight with Jon Fitch on February 27th at UFC 127.
That appears to have led to Penn, who recently turned 32, to reevaluate his goals when he steps into the octagon.
“All these fighters are really, really, really concerned about one thing, winning,” Penn tells Australian site mmasports.com.au. “And it’s not that I’m not concerned about that, but I’ve been in their shoes for a long time and that’s all I was concerned about too. But more concerned than winning, I want to show everybody my fighting spirit.”
With that in mind Penn has now developed a new fighting philosophy.
“What happens when I step into the ring, it’s either going to be the best win, best loss or best draw you ever [expletive] saw.
“It’s just that everybody’s in different places in their lives; [Fitch is] looking for title shot, all these people are looking to come up, some people looking to win to keep their job and this and that. I’m just looking to show my fighting spirit.”
It’ll be interesting to see how Penn’s philosophy plays out against Fitch, who’s not known for delivering the kind of barn-burner style of fight that the Hawaiian appears to crave.
If Fitch is able to implement his traditional stifling wrestling tactics then it may be difficult for Penn to practice what he’s preaching, but if the former champ can produce the same kind of his explosive opening that he did in his 21 second KO over Matt Hughes last time out, and display some of his legendary takedown defense then things could get very interesting indeed.