With one of the biggest rematches in UFC history right around the corner, we must take a closer look into the camps of these two fighters. Spike TV has done this with UFC primetime. The show looks into the fighter’s camps and history while they both prepare for the biggest title fight of their respective careers. Big for St. Pierre to help further validate his career and historic for Penn to hold a title in two different weight classes simultaneously.
BJ Penn is the prodigy and may be one of the most gifted fighters in the world; he will be going up against the extremely athletic Georges St. Pierre. Many remember the battered St. Pierre after one round with Penn, a deceptively hard striker, but few recall St. Pierre taking over the next two rounds to claim the controversial decision.
Throughout UFC Primetime Penn has discussed how he will break GSP causing him to fold and quit, calling into question the drive and ability of St. Pierre. Penn opens the show by talking about going “’til the death”. Penn claims that this is what it is going to take for GSP to win, the two men fighting to the death.
With Penn making these claims one can’t help but question Penn’s cardio and endurance. In a fight with Matt Hughes, Penn seemed to blow his wad a little too early. After looking dominant through two rounds Penn could not stand with his hands up, leading Hughes to take advantage of the round and ultimately the fight. This fight was in 2006 but does call into question the shape that Penn may be in if the fight reaches the Championship Rounds.
St. Pierre is the long, lean athlete who wows the crowd with his spinning back kicks and well rounded striking, but even such an athlete can have weaknesses once in the octagon. Once you begin getting struck in the face athleticism is no factor, as was seen when Matt Serra was able to string punches together and put St. Pierre on the defensive, losing all sense of where he was in the octagon, even struggling to keep his hands up for defense.
Penn will undoubtedly come out swinging in an attempt to lessen the effect of St. Pierre’s athleticism and immediately put GSP on the defensive. If St. Pierre can weather this initial storm and fury of Penn’s heavy hands, his chances to retain his title will greatly increase. Look for GSP to take some punches before bringing the fight to the ground in attempt to wear out Penn before starting to do some real stand up in the center of the ring in Round 3.
If Penn truly has undergone a change in his training and increased his cardio this will make for a much better fight come the rounds that matter when dealing with gold. Penn made remarks that it was foolish to question his training style and discipline and his cardio, but for a few years that has been the biggest setback of this natural “prodigy”.
The fans expect GSP to have the conditioning, if Penn matches the intensity of St. Pierre throughout the fight, and not just the early rounds, this will be the rematch that all the fans desire. If the conditioning is not there, Penn will be in trouble in the championship rounds.