Who’s BJ gonna fight next?
Who cares? It seems that is my response quite often these days when certain fighters are scheduled for an upcoming bout.
I am a Baby Jay fan, a longtime fan. I followed him from his first UFC stint through K-1/Heroes and back again, always believing in ‘the prodigy’. Yes, he has disappointed me several times (GSP, Edgar, Fitch) only to ignite the passion in me as a MMA fan again and again (Matt Hughes, Diego Sanchez, Jens Pulver, Kenflo, Sherk, breaking Joe Daddy) with his sheer ability. BJ is amazing, was amazing, could be amazing again…when? It’s hard for me to watch BJ fight, because I’ve become so emotionally invested, when he wins it’s an amazing high, when he loses, or puts on a very bad showing (GSP, Edgar 2x’s) it is gut-wrenchingly devastating. Like a junkie, I keep coming back, hoping for that amazing high, lately, all I get is the devastation. It’s exhausting being a fan of this level (Nick Diaz is also on this list of Fighters I’ve invested in heavily, if he loses to GSP I may have to be on suicide watch. Leben is another, I still can’t watch replays of his losses to Silva or Stann) my Titanium infused body can’t take the stress like it could pre-Titanium.
BJ is healthy again, looking for a fight at UFC 137 in October. The same event which will see GSP defend his WW belt against Nick Diaz, in what looks to be GSP’s toughest challenge in a few years. Like many others, I believe Diaz will force GSP out of his comfort zone and into a real battle, something he hasn’t had to face in some time. Back to BJ: Fitch was hoping for a rematch to their controversial (not the most exciting either) draw earlier this year. While Carlos Condit is looking for a way to get closer to the title. BJ, also looking for the fast road to a title shot (I don’t want to see GSP vs BJ again, although a Diaz vs. BJ fight is intriguing) which makes Condit a better choice (sorry Fitch, you are the perennial bridesmaid, but never the bride in the WW division) possibly a more exciting fight at the same time.
Which leads me to my original point, do I want to see BJ fight Condit? Or anyone in the WW title mix for that matter? The answer is a resounding, I don’t know. Part of me says “Hell No”, then the junkie side of me says “It will be different this time, it will be.” Quite the conflict going on inside of my head. It comes down to Penn, and Penn alone. Will ‘the prodigy’ show up to fight or will it be an obviously cardio deprived BJ? Is his camp filled with ‘yes men’, devoid of a great strength and conditioning coach still? If the answers to the previous questions are “yes”, then no I do not want to see the next BJ Penn fight. If the answers are “No”, then maybe I want to see another BJ Penn fight. Addiction is a bitch.
Carlos Condit always comes to play, always. I’ve yet to be disappointed with a Condit fight, his last few have been awesome. He’s on a streak, has improved considerably (or has reached his nexus), I consider him a potential candidate for a WW title shot. Penn’s the best way to get there, unless BJ shows up with that look in his eye, then it’s the worst decision.
You all remember that look right? The one he had when he beat up Jens Pulver for 3 rounds, the one he had before he drove Sean Sherk into the cage out leaving him title less for good. The ferocity in his eyes when he handed Diego Sanchez his worst beating, up until that moment, not to mention his total breaking of Joe ‘Daddy’ Stevenson (one of my favorites, who I feel has reached his ceiling, sadly), remember that look? The one distinctly lacking from his two Edgar bouts, his second GSP bout, his recent Fitch bout, the look that surfaced for 50 or so seconds before Matt Hughes took a nap. It’s a look some of you may know firsthand, ever met someone at a bar who has ‘murder’ in his eyes? The look people get when it’s time to ‘dance’. If you’ve ever been in a street fight (sadly, many of us have) then you may have encountered this look, followed by an ass whooping. Or you possess this look, it makes bigger opponents think twice before starting a fight. Possibly you have seen a very small, timid guy in the midst of talking his way out of a fight, before he realizes the futility of his situation, his killer instincts kick in…the look emerges, followed by the bigger guy getting demolished. If BJ Penn entered the Octagon with said look every bout, win or lose, I would be on an amazing high. There is something to be said, call it ‘inspirational’, about anyone with that level of talent using every ounce of it every time the opportunity presents itself. Sadly, I think BJ’s name will be followed by an * in the annals of MMA history. The * denoting his failure to reach his full potential due to boredom and lack of real competition at certain points in his career. I sincerely hope I’m wrong, that we are about to witness a renaissance in BJ Penn’s career, followed by bodies hitting the floor.
As it stands, I must fight my addiction, my junkie tendencies, awwwh never mind, I’ll watch whoever they put in front of BJ. Who am I kidding?