In the past, I have been a vocal critic of BJ Penn. And while I still have issues with his attitude at times, I can't help but be hella impressed with his performances in the cage.
According to Fight Metric, Penn landed 70% of his strikes last night. That is beyond good, that is awesome. Sanchez attempted approx ten thousand takedowns and got not a single one.
And after last night, I can't help but say this:
It is time for him to make the permenant move to 170.
Penn has not simply been dominant in his title defenses, he has negated virtually all of his opponents' offensive tools, leaving them to merely survive as long as posible. Florian, Sherk and Sanchez are all world class fighters, yet Penn made each one look like they made a wrong turn and ended up in the cage by mistake.
An argument could be made for one or two more defenses, but I see some very real problems with that. The remaining two legit contenders are Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar. I doubt that anyone, outside of their families, sees either as a realistic threat. What is worse, neither would draw much interest for the casual public. So not only would they almost certainly get killed, nobody would give a shit about the match-ups.
Clay Guida, had he won last night, would have some appeal. Oh sure, he would get completely destroyed, but he is likeble and would appeal to folks enough that some would watch the fight.
One might make the same argument about GSP, but he is not yet interested in moving up and has a couple more viable opponents. He will likely pound Hardy, but Dan's mouth should help build up the bout enough that some will think he has a shot. Koscheck is slowly positioning himself for a shot and he can argue that he won a round from GSP when they previously fought.
Moving Penn up to WW would do two things:
A) Allow the LW division to regain some excitement. The UFC LW division has a handful of great fighters as well as quite a few good ones that deliver the goods. Who would not like to watch Edgar, Florian, Sherk, Griffin and Maynard all battle it out to see who becomes the next champ?
B) The move gives the WW division another legit draw and creates some interesting match-ups. Alves/Penn? Koscheck, Hardy, Daley, Fitch (ok, maybe not after last nights' yawnfest)...all of these sound, at least to me, like good bouts.