UFC lightweight/welterweight fighter BJ “The Prodigy” Penn has been shaking things up in his training camp to prepare for perennial 170-pound contender Jon Fitch, as they will be squaring off late next month. Penn has secured the services of legendary boxing trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. in order to sharpen up his striking for the fight and even enjoyed training under “Joy” so much that he extended his planned stay in Las Vegas by a week.
Mayweather Sr. spoke with FightHype.com recently about the experience, how they met and on what tools he is giving Penn to aid in defeating Fitch.
“Well, you know his strength and conditioning coach is Robert Garcia. Robert was Oscar [De la Hoya]’s strength coach when I was with him, so he brought BJ down and we doing some stuff together,” Mayweather said of his and Penn’s meeting. “He was only supposed to be down here for a week, but he said he’s learning so much that he’s gonna stay two. If they really want him to win this thing and look good, I would like to have him for three to four weeks, but trust me, the stuff I’m showing him in these two weeks will work if he uses it…trust me.”
Mayweather Sr. gave praise to the talented Hawaiian, asserting that his skills were less than impressive when they first began working, but that he has improved considerably in just the short time that they have trained together.
“BJ Penn is a cool dude, man. I’ll be honest, at first, it didn’t seem like he could fight that good. I mean, I don’t know about his ground game and all of that stuff, but he’s got some pop and in just the three days I’ve been working with him, he has improved, man,” said Mayweather Sr. “In his words, man, he told me, ‘I ain’t never seen some of this stuff you’re showing me, man.’ And that’s only after three days. BJ is learning fast, man. He’s a good guy.”
Though he is mostly unfamiliar with mixed martial arts and in turn Penn’s opponent, Mayweather Sr. has been equipping Penn with tools to take on a larger opponent, which he will be facing in Fitch.
“I heard [Fitch] is about six foot tall and cuts a good bit of weight to make 170 pounds, but guess what? If BJ throws his shots the way I got him throwing his shots, he will win,” he asserted. “See, those guys throwing shots different than the way we do it, so I’m teaching BJ how to keep it standing and be effective. Let me tell you something, man, if he uses it, then it will work…I got BJ working on something just for a taller opponent. I don’t know what BJ’s ground game is like at all, but if he uses what I’m showing him, he won’t need it. Trust me when I tell you now.”
Penn will get the chance to employ the techniques he has learned under Mayweather Sr. this February 27th at the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia, when he and Fitch square off in the main event of UFC 127.