If BJ Penn Wants a Rematch, He Needs to Earn it


Thumb_mediumBJ Penn clearly wants a rematch:

For the past several days I have been reading statements made by St. Pierre and Greg Jackson about our fight on January 31. St. Pierre claims that he is "not a cheater" and that he and Greg Jackson will have "no problem with a rematch in the summer of 2009." To the untrained eye the grease might not look like much, but every grappler knows the effect that it has. Being able to apply your submissions and sweeps or just being able to hold on to your opponent to defend yourself from being hit is absolutely critical! There is a reason why you are not allowed to put grease anywhere on your body except for the area around your eyes. Because of the grease applied to St.Pierre’s Body the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s executive director, Keith Kizer has stated that the Penn-St. Pierre fight "definitely wasn’t fair". I hereby accept George St. Pierre and Greg Jackson’s challenge for a fight in the summer 2009. Lets call Dana now and set it up.

Actually, Kizer's quote was that the cornerman's actions weren't fair to Penn or GSP, but aside from that point, this rematch stuff is probably going to become a big issue with BJ. He has successfully deluded himself into believing he didn't really lose, and now he is going to claw to get that rematch instead of defending his 155 pound title.

There may be some tough choices for Dana White ahead.  There are a few points in favor of a rematch: both fighters want it, and the feud is now so bitter that the buyrate would be completely astronomical due to the build.  The other positive is it could give everyone a definitive answer and end all questions about a fight that was tainted.  

However, there are significant negatives to doing a rematch as well.  The first fight was a brutal ass kicking, and Penn is putting his body in jeopardy fighting St. Pierre again.  Further, it's even more unfair to challengers for each title to have to wait again for this.  We also know that if BJ wins he wants to retire, giving the UFC every incentive in the world not to give him this fight.  Finally, and probably most importantly, the grease story is confined to a small world of hardcore fans.  Most casuals will never know or care about it.  However, hyping a fight around it will permanently raise the issue about St. Pierre, something the UFC marketing machine is certainly not interested in.

My position is this: if BJ Penn wants a rematch, he needs to drop his title, move to 170, and earn a title shot.  Maybe if he can beat Jon Fitch and Matt Hughes he can earn himself a shot.  As is, he cannot put himself above the entire roster especially after getting handled so badly.  St. Pierre is probably fighting in July, if BJ wants it so bad he has plenty of time to earn his shot.

I'm not going to sit here and say the outcome of a rematch is certain.  Nothing is certain when it comes to BJ Penn, he's just too good to ever be sure.  But I believe St. Pierre wins this fight now 99 times out of 100, and it may just be a more athletic version of Ortiz/Shamrock.  Except with real heat behind it.

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