Following his persuasive win over Kenny Florian at UFC 101, BJ Penn is back in his native Hawaii taking a well-deserved break. But the UFC lightweight champion may need to cut his vacation short to prepare for his next fight. Penn is in talks with UFC President Dana White about his next title defense against Diego “The Nightmare” Sanchez.
“It’s gonna happen, hopefully within the next two, two-and-a-half months,” Penn told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.
“Here I am. I’m in shape. I want to have fun for a couple of days, take some time off, eat some good food, and then I want to get right back into all that stuff.”
While many agree that Penn entered the fight with Florian in the best shape of his life, thanks to enlisting the help of longtime strength and conditioning coach and former pro footballer Marv Marinovich, others stated that fighter appeared to be over-trained and tired.
Penn needs to stay in fighting shape to successfully defend his title against the physically more imposing Sanchez, who has beaten his last four opponents and whose resume includes wins over Nick Diaz, Joe “Daddy” Stevenson, Clay Guida and Joe “Diesel” Riggs.
“He’s really good; he’s really explosive,” Penn said of Sanchez. “He’s shown that he has some knockout power and he’s a very good grappler. He’s very hungry; he’s shown that he wants to be a champion someday. This is an important fight.”
Another important fight “The Prodigy” would like to make happen is another bout with Georges St-Pierre. Penn and GSP have squared off twice before – both resulting in controversial wins by GSP. The feud is further fueled by reports by Yahoo! Sports that stated that Penn called GSP a steroid user. Penn stated that the article made him look bad, but he does think that St- Pierre has “juiced” in the past.
“In my personal opinion, yeah, but I really think it was unfair, that thing that Yahoo! did when they set up that thing and made me look bad and made that the focus of the article,” he stated.
With Penn turning 31 years-old in December and father to a 10-month-old daughter, many wonder how much longer he plans to continue his MMA career.
“I’m just going all by feel right now,” Penn said. “If you had asked me this five years ago, I would have said, for sure, I’m going to be doing this when I’m 40. But now, I’m just playing it by ear. I’m not ruling it out. We’ll just see how it goes.”