Former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion BJ “The Prodigy” Penn has long been an anomaly for not only his inherent talent for fighting but also his willingness and ability to compete at a variety of weight classes, from lightweight (155 lbs.) to light heavyweight (Penn weighed 191 lbs. in a 2005 bout with a then-220 lbs. Lyoto Machida). After losing twice in a row to current lightweight champ Frankie Edgar, Penn jumped back up to welterweight, where he knocked out Matt Hughes in under thirty seconds to get one back in the win column.
Now, “The Prodigy” will be taking on longtime number two UFC welterweight Jon Fitch in the main event of UFC 127 for the next title shot at 170 lbs. and he will likely be giving up some twenty pounds to Fitch come fight night. During a recent conference call to promote the bout, Penn discussed the weight difference between himself and Fitch and explained how not having to cut weight will actually benefit him on fight night (props to Fighters Only for the transcription).
“When it comes to 155 pounds, I don’t even like cutting the weight to make that weight,” said Penn. “It’s not a tough cut for me – I probably cut three of four pounds on the day of the weigh in. But you have to cut down food and you have to cut your water down. And I don’t know if that’s a healthy thing.”
A longtime proponent of testing yourself against the best regardless of size, Penn explained why dropping poundage to gain an advantage over an opponent simply doesn’t factor into his fighting philosophy.
“I mean, if someone said ‘Let’s meet tomorrow at 12 o’clock to fight somewhere, your family honor is on the line,’ I wouldn’t stop drinking water and stop eating. I don’t see how that can help you and make you the stronger person. I come from a whole different mindset,” he said. “I believe you get as healthy as you can and fight the best guy possible. I feel that I’m a healthy person right now and in a great mindset, and I know that when we get to Australia we’re going to fight less than 24 hours after the weigh in, so I’d rather be in the position that I’m in.”
“The Prodigy” said that he is looking forward to feeling full and hydrated when he steps on the scale and again when he gets into the ring opposite Fitch, an advantage that he thinks could outweigh Fitch’s twenty pounds.
“Twenty hours later me and Jon Fitch are going to be standing in the ring looking at each other and I’m going to be happy knowing that I was drinking as much water and eating as much as I could the whole time I was getting ready to fight someone of Fitch’s caliber,” said Penn.
Penn and Fitch will square off in the main event of UFC 127, which goes down on the 26th of this month at the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia.