During a recent conference call to promote his upcoming title fight rematch with Frankie Edgar at UFC 118, former UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn revealed his thoughts on the current trend of fighters employing a win-first fight-second style.
“I vote to keep the ‘fight’ in ‘ultimate fighting,'” said the Hawaiian fighter.
Penn believes that young fighters are losing their uniqueness by emulating one another and also because of current trends in mixed martial arts judging.
“Every fighter looks exactly the same,” said Penn. “It’s crazy now, but I guess that’s the future of the sport, and that’s how the sport has evolved. Nobody wants to be on their back because even if the guy doesn’t do one bit of damage, he’s still going to lose the fight. That’s really affecting how fighters fight because the judges, as we all know, they don’t know what they’re doing. I don’t think anyone should get points for any of the grappling positions. What’s the sense of taking Demian Maia down, and why should you get points for that, and why should you get points for mounting James Toney? It doesn’t make sense to me. It’s all about damage and submission attempts; that’s the only thing that really matter in the fight.”
“The Prodigy” told reporters that he always looks to finish his fights and that he believes the sport would benefit if more fighters adopted a similar approach to competition; if they focused more on fighting for the sake of fighting and not on fighting to win.
“I think every fighter should have that same motivation to want to finish because it puts more money in all of our pockets, and it builds the UFC, and it just makes everybody happy all the way around,” Penn said. “There is a lot of controversy with people taking the ‘fight’ out of ‘ultimate fighting,’ and they really want to go to decision, and they feel happy with that. If that’s the way they like to do things, that’s the way they do it. But for me, I’ve always been about the fight, and I’m more of a fighter than an athlete. Maybe that’s why people say I don’t come in shape and these kind of things. Because I’m not an athlete. I didn’t grow up playing all types of sports my whole life. All I’ve ever [done] was get into a fight, and a lot of it was over emotion.”
Penn will look to reclaim the belt that he lost by decision to Frankie Edgar at UFC 112 this past April when the two meet again on August 28th at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.