BJ Penn has less than two weeks until his highly anticipated battle with Sean Sherk at UFC 84: “Ill Will”. Penn has been lauded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but was also considered by many to be unfocused in training and ill prepared for fights from a conditioning standpoint; basically a guy who got by on talent alone.
However, after blowing past elite contenders Jens Pulver and Joe Stevenson in an aggressive and dominant fashion, Penn is beginning to quiet doubters who once questioned his work ethic and will look to put all doubts to rest with a victory over cardio-freak, Sean Sherk. Penn sat down with On The Mat to discuss his new found work ethic, below are some of the highlights from that conversation.
Penn On His Newfound Work Ethic:
This sport is at another level and I woke up one day and said it’s time to get focused, it’s time to take this serious. I came off two loses and realized that I was not as focused as I could be, you know. I still wasn’t in a bad position. I could still fix all this now. I got focused got back on track and now I am the lightweight champ and still moving on.
I ran into a guy named Tony Aponte, he taught me the calorie to workout ratio. With that I can now train five hours a day, it’s the eating…I would not be able to do it if I was not eating properly; five to six meals a day. Wake up eat a meal, train, eat a couple more meals, not going to tell everyone exactly how much. In the morning I workout for two and a half to three hours every day, consisting of everything: plyometics, strength, technique, bag work, drills, drilling grappling; the mornings are road work, then stretching and in the evenings its more competitive.
I do everything in five minute rounds from take down drills, to drilling my own stuff, to bag drills switching to different combos, bringing it back to the basics working a lot of technique again doing 20 arm locks to triangle drills each side, just staying sharp. At one point it was all about drills and you know what I am still all about it.
BJ Penn On Training Differently Now For Sherk Than In His Most Recent Fight Against Joe Stevenson:
Well Joe was a more deadly submission guy, Sherk probably has a little better hands and powerful takedowns and explosiveness but I just gotta keep my focus, train for Sherk but honestly I don’t really feel like I am the champ and I am here to just fight fights. Urijah Fabor is here and Grey Maynard is coming, lots of wrestlers and I know if I train hard and come out sharp, I am not underestimating Sherk but I don’t see where he stands a chance.
BJ Penn On Future Fight Prospects:
After I beat Sherk it would really be great to see who’s next in the lightweight division. I would love to keep the lightweight title and I also want to get a shot to avenge GSP and Hughes, Anderson Silva is a great fighter but I gotta take care of some other guys first.
BJ Penn On Lyoto Machida vs. Tito Ortiz:
Tito has a really good style for Lyoto. Lyoto hasn’t been in the fence and Tito can get him there and really use those elbows and ground and pound. I think that’s what it is going to come down to, Tito getting his game on getting those takedowns, stabilizing, making space and ripping those elbows down like in the old days. Should be a great night for him. Lyoto, he’s got to do what he did to Sokoudjou. Lyoto is probably a little better in the trading, but Tito is always getting better with his stand up. Lyoto needs to work his Jui-Jitsu, sweep and work his way back up, but it’s a tough fight. I think Lyoto has the same strengths as before but his jiu jitsu looks better and he was a tough guy then and he still is. He punches hard.