Is BJ Penn's Legacy on the Line at UFC 101?

Bjpenn_medium

At UFC 101 BJ Penn finally gets to answer all the questions.  Is he really the best lightweight in the world, or is he overrated?  Fans have started questioning the strength of his wins at 155, starting with the win over Jens Pulver.  Pulver's gone on such a bad losing streak that the win isn't impressive in retrospect.  He got a nice win over Joe Stevenson, but Stevenson went on to suffer a first round loss to Kenny Florian and a decision to Diego Sanchez.  His win over Sherk looked impressive until Frankie Edgar easily outboxed Sherk.


I'm not a fan of picking apart records like this.  You can go through any fighter's record and start discrediting wins, and it's really not fair to great fighters to go back and nitpick records.  Penn earned himself a number of enemies with his behavior after UFC 94, and those enemies want to discredit everything he's done in MMA.  I'm sure if Penn beats Florian his detractors will claim Florian was never that good anyway, but a win over Florian effectively secures his spot as the best lightweight in the world.

This won't be an easy fight for Penn.  He has better boxing, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu than Florian, but Florian has better cardio and a number of weapons from range he can use to effectively nullify Penn's advantages.  Florian has become an evasive counter striker on his feet; I expect him to make BJ chase him and try to catch BJ with body kicks when he closes in.  The key for Penn in this fight is to resist the urge to fight standing and get Florian down.  Penn's offensive wrestling is underrated; he definitely has the ability to put Florian on his back, and that's where Penn can really do a lot of damage.

From my perspective, Penn's legacy in the sport is secure.  But a loss to Florian at this point will give a lot of ammunition to those who have long believed he has never lived up to the hype.

UFC 101

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5349_tracker