Former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn wrote a blog for Yahoo Sports in the leadup to his main event fight with Nick Diaz this weekend at UFC 137. He talks about a variety of things in it, including his feelings on Diaz, Georges St. Pierre pulling out of his fight with Carlos Condit, and not having a beef with anyone in MMA anymore. He starts off by saying he wasn't offended by the antics of his friend Diaz:
I didn’t find it disrespectful; I think it is Nick being Nick, and he’s not gonna change. He’s going to do what he’s going to do, and not do what he’s not going to do. That is cool. I know he will show up for the fight and it will be a great fight in the new UFC 137 main event.
That’s all that really matters – who wins this fight and who loses.
I thought the whole thing with the phone call was hilarious. At this stage in my life, I feel I am too old to talk smack. As I get older, what I realize is that all anyone remembers is who wins fights. I find the smack talking funny when fighters do it, but no one remembers anything except who wins the fights.
While I wouldn't necessarily agree with Penn on that (I remember some trash talk from fighters as vividly as the fights in question themselves), there's nothing wrong with Penn maturing as a person. He switches topics to GSP next:
That’s why I don’t really have anything to say about GSP pulling out of the title fight. I know he’s had problems with his knee before – that’s why I got to fight Matt Hughes the second time when GSP pulled out.
Another UFC fighter called me and said, "GSP is scared – he has to be 110 percent before he fights." Carlos is a very dangerous fight for GSP, so I don’t blame GSP for pulling out of the fight. Some fighters go in with bad injuries and some don’t.
When it comes to GSP, we have had our problems. I said what I said about him in the past, but if he felt like he had to pull out of the fight that’s what it is.
Finally, he talks about his feelings towards his own career and how he deals with opponents:
Right now, I feel I got a clean slate with anyone in the sport. I am happy with my career, winning two titles and beating some great fighters, but I also feel I have more to do. I have to get better and I have to show I am as good as people have said I am. I’m getting older. This is a career to me, but fighting is what I live for.
As far as having to hate everyone I fight, or proving I can outbox a boxer, or tap out the best BJJ guy, I don’t need to prove that anymore. What I want to do is fight hard, win some big fights and see what happens. I’d like to win the title, but I don’t think about that.
I like this more mature side of Penn, personally. I'm sure some people will see him as a bit too comfortable by saying stuff like this and will likely question his motivation, but I don't see it that way. I just see it as a sign of getting older and starting to understand the world around you a little better. If B.J. does truly have his head on straight, that's just another point in his favor against Diaz on Saturday.