Everyone’s been oohing and aaahing BJ Penn’s stupid plan to take it easy and not fight that often:
BJ Penn, who will be taking on Joe Stevenson for the interim UFC lightweight belt in January, has a rough career plan outlined for himself based on longevity. He told UFC.com, “I don’t want to do the five fights a year thing for three years and then I’m done, like all these fighters have done-I want to do one to two fights a year for the next ten years. I want to keep my name out there for the next ten years.”
Hey, that would be all well and good if the universe existed in a bubble and nothing changed over time. As it stands, BJ Penn is on the same cusp as Matt Hughes and Chuck Liddell are … watching as the next generation of MMA fighters step up and take shit to the next level. They haven’t been pushed out yet and they’ll still be top tier for the next few years, but 5 years from now? Questionable. 10 years? No way in hell.
MMA is still a really young sport … in ten years you’re going to be seeing the first crop of kids who were brought up by rabid MMA fans … parents who sent their kids to martial arts schools with the idea of turning them into little Georges St Pierres and Randy Coutures. I can’t even imagine the skills this generation of fighters will bring to the table.
BJ Penn loves a challenge, so perhaps that’s what this is all about. There’s no real point for him fighting the Joe Stevensons of the lightweight division just to fight them. Waiting for the right opponents, challenging yourself with them, and not wasting your time on fights which aren’t really worth fighting … I can understand that.
But there’s a good chance BJ is gonna get left in the dust as the sport evolves, like Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, and Igor Vovchanchyn already have been.