The upcoming fight between BJ Penn and GSP at UFC 94 will go a long way towards answering the question of pound for pound supremacy.
The debate is fierce and strong points lie on both sides for either fighter in a P4P discussion. In the end though, it’s hard to argue BJ has anything less than a very good chance of winning. He lost a split decision in the first fight and surprisingly got the better of many exchanges. Past criticisms of BJ have been his conditioning. Since his loss to Matt Hughes and his new found commitment to training, it’s hard to argue this is a factor in BJ’s fights any further. BJ is also the most mentally prepared fighter in the game. He’s simply unfazed by the pressure and many feel the mental game is an advantage to BJ in this fight.
Putting the BJ/GSP debate aside, there is a larger debate looming should BJ win at UFC 94. A win raises the intriguing idea of BJ taking his legacy much further in an attempt to win titles in both the WECs 145 pound division and the UFCs 185 pound division. Success in either, or both, of these attempts would cement BJ as the undisputed P4P fighter of all time.
For those who say BJ would have no shot at Anderson Silva… a dream fight between GSP and Silva has also been rumored. I ask then, if BJ can beat GSP, it’s only logical to believe he would have a decent chance of beating Silva. In addition, BJ has fought and beaten opponents as large as Silva in the past.
While I’m sure it would be no easy task, the drop to 145 pounds for BJ is only another 10 pounds. BJ looks leaner at 155, but still carries some excess weight. If pushed and dieting enough in advance, making 145 is doable. The spread of 145 – 185 is only 40 pounds and provides BJ a solid shot against anyone there. Most other fighters would need to fill a gap of 55 pounds in order to make weight in 4 weight classes.
Could anyone else accomplish this task? Let’s consider Anderson Silva for starters. The drop from 185 to 170 is 15 pounds and Silva has too large a frame to make this possible. Silva moving to heavy weight would cast him against Fedor or others that walk around well above 265 pounds. If Lesnar can throw guys like Frank Mir around like a rag doll, imagine how he would manhandle Silva.
Next, let’s consider GSP – a HUGE 170 pound fighter. Looking at how shredded his hamstrings are in the cage, I’d be surprised if he could make a fight at 169 pounds without losing a limb. A drop of 15 pounds to 155 seems out of the question. Fighting at heavyweight would put him at even a larger disadvantage than Silva.
This is not to suggest any of this would be easy, simply put however, there is no other fighter who we could even debate as having a chance at 4 weight classes. This makes BJ a great choice for best P4P fighter in the world.