Former UFC Lightweight and Welterweight Champion BJ “The Prodigy” Penn recently appeared on UFC ring announcer Bruce Buffer’s It’s Time! radio program on the Sherdog Radio Network where he discussed a number of subjects including his newfound approach to fighting, the ten point must scoring system in MMA, and grappling’s role in mixed martial arts.
Penn recently lost his belt to Frankie “The Answer” Edgar in a razor-thin fight at UFC 112 this past April. “The Prodigy” told Buffer that he took time to analyze himself and his mental approach to fighting after that bout and that he has adopted a new approach to preparing himself to fight as a result.
“I did a lot of analyzing (following the loss to Edgar), but it wasn’t analyzing the fight per se,” said Penn. “It was about analyzing myself and my life. I’m going to give away one of my secrets because I’m so pumped for this fight, but I’ve started training a lot different than what I used to. Your mind, body and spirit are all one-third of your whole self. The physical side is one-third and that’s not even half of the game. I used to put everything on the physical side and now I’m doing a lot with my mind and my spirit and now they’re all equal. They’re all one-third of the trinity and I believe that this is it.”
The Hilo, Hawaii native also told Buffer that he has a newfound belief in his abilities as well, and that he sees himself going on an unprecedented run in the UFC.
“I believe I’m going to go on a run,” said Penn. “I don’t want to speak too soon because I have a fight coming up Saturday, but I really think I can go out and do those things I talked about when I was a young, cocky kid a few years ago.”
Departing from his spiritual growth, Penn touched on the currently employed ten point must scoring system in MMA. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt described the system as inadequate for mixed martial arts competition.
“My problem with the scoring system is that you can go out and win the first round by 50 points and lose the second round by two points on a takedown or something and it’s an even fight going to the third round,” said Penn. “That’s a joke. On another note, what good does a takedown do if I take down Demian Maia? How many points do I get if I mount on James Toney? It’s just ridiculous. I don’t think positions should be any points. The only things that should count as points are power punches and legitimate submission attempts. Add them up at the end of the fight and whoever has the most points or did the most damage wins. That’s how it should be. That 10-9 system doesn’t work.”
Penn continued on about judging criteria in MMA and he again bashed fighters who are looking only to win on points as well as the system that creates them.
“I’m a jiu-jitsu world champion and I’m saying these things (about changes in judging criteria),” said Penn. “I don’t think people should get grappling points for a takedown or mounting someone or getting their back. Who cares if I mount someone or have their back for four minutes if he gets out or I didn’t do anything to him? It’s the Ultimate Fighting Championship, not the Ultimate Grappling Championship. What happens when people fight? Someone gets hurt. You have fights now where nobody gets hurt and it’s like what the hell are we watching? And these coaches, because there’s money involved, convince these fighters to compete this way and it’s crazy. That’s another reason why I’m so pumped to get in there. I just want to show everybody what a fight looks like.”
Penn has achieved pinnacles of greatness in MMA that most fighters can only aspire to reach, he has also suffered devastating losses. “The Prodigy” told Buffer that he has been down before but that he is no longer looking for the end of his career, that he is now seeking to fight anyone and everyone he can, no matter the weight class or their position in it; that he is looking to achieve levels greatness never to be matched.
“I know I’ve contemplated retirement a lot in my career, but I want to fight every month now, if I can,” said Penn. “I’ll fight everyone from the No. 1 contender at 155 to the No. 10 contender at 155. If they run out of contenders at 155, I’ll fight anybody in the welterweight division. If I could fight six times a year for the next three years, that would be 18 fights. God willing I can do that, then let’s do that. If I can do more, let me do more.”
Penn will look to get back on the road to greatness this Saturday when he attempts to reclaim the UFC Lightweight Championship from Frankie “The Answer” Edgar at UFC 118, broadcasting live via pay-per-view from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.