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Monday, 11/07/2011, 07:33 am

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“I want to compete at the highest level”


com•pete (k m-p t )
intr.v. com•pet•ed, com•pet•ing, com•petes
To strive against another or others to attain a goal, such as an advantage or a victory.

To compete at the highest level of Mixed Martial Arts one must first be allowed the opportunity to do so. This is not an honor handed out often; only through hard work, determination and one’s own proven worth will the UFC allow a fighter an opportunity to prove themselves amongst the elite.

At the culmination of UFC 137 BJ Penn stated that he wants to “compete at the highest level” and after his loss, his inability to attain victory implied through his own words that he may not be able to do so anymore. His own worst critic? Probably…

Looking at this history of Mixed Martial Arts up through the current Era, very few fighters from the golden age still emerge as elite level competitors. Currently under the roster you have Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, Frank Mir, Tito Ortiz and BJ Penn. These five fighters have been competing at the highest level of the sport from far beyond the “TUF” and Spike TV era’s and as such cemented their legacies and place in the sports history.

Relics such as Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell are now on the sidelines, old hero’s like Royce Gracie and Mark Coleman are no longer relevant and as such have retired.

To put it into perspective, when BJ Penn made his UFC debut, the main event of the night was a heavyweight title fight between Randy Couture and Pedro Rizzo. Pat Miletich was a star for the organization and Matt Lindland was still on good terms with the UFC and considered one of the best in the game. This was the golden era of MMA. Elvis Sinosic was preparing to take a shot at the then champion Tito Ortiz for the UFC’s light-heavyweight crown and guys like Shonie Carter, Josh Barnett and Ricco Rodriguez where all on the scene trying to move up the ranks inside the UFC’s Octagon.

BJ Penn was there during that era. Long before the half a billion homes worldwide where able to take in all the MMA action they could handle on almost a weekly basis. He was there and he was dominant.

Fast forward 10-years and all the old names are gone with the exception of the few already mentioned. Some are relegated to compete on the local circuit getting by solely on their name and some have taken up desks inside UFC operational headquarters.

But BJ Penn still fights in the Octagon, one of the last from the old herd of stars to “compete” and entertain millions of MMA fans worldwide. To this date he has never been knocked out, never been submitted, never even been knocked down from another man’s strike and out of all the fighters that still stand inside the cage from the golden era of MMA he is the only fighter who can claim such accolades.

It’s easy to strive for victory, to believe your own hype and to try and live up to the expectations the world has had of you for a decade. The hard part is to just realize that you’ve already done it. That you have nothing else to prove, you are still standing in the place where you started, inside the cage fighting the best that God has ever made the best that ever walked the earth and not one man has ever knocked you down. You are still here and you are still standing and therefore it is not you who need compete, but they who need to prove worthy.

At the end of the day, if the torch should pass, as it always does then so be it, but at 32 years old that fire still burns and that torch still sits in Hilo, Hawaii where it has for the last 10 years. Today is not the day, Nick Diaz was not the man and the world is not ready for “The Prodigy” to hang them up just yet.

New names are on the scene now, names that haven’t spanned the course of the last decade in the UFC, Jose Aldo, GSP, Anderson Silva and Jon Jones to name a few, and while they may be hot commodities at the moment, will their reigns last through the next decade of competition, will they be able to enter a jam packed arena to fans crying their name and stand and bang with the best of the best never to be knocked down, never to be submitted with the heart of a champion still beating in their chest? It’s a question that only time will answer, but there is one man right now, walking and talking and fighting in front of the world on the biggest stage that has done all of these things and still continues to do so and his name is BJ Penn.

BJ says he wants to compete at the highest level but what he may have failed to realize is that he is the one who set the bar long ago for where that level starts and where it ends. Everyone else is just trying to follow in his path.


23 Comments to “I want to compete at the highest level”

  1. Long-Strong says:

    another article about this… as a fan, if he does really want to move on with his career, he needs to start looking to the future i.e. better conditioning program, training with elite fighters etc. yeah, it sucks what happened and he’s done a lot but we all know he can do so much more. as a supporter for this site, it doesn’t do mma journalism any good when we have another article about news that is old. if bjpenn.com is to be competitive with other mma sites like mmafighting and sherdog, there’s got to be more news than this. and that’s seeing to the future too.

    just some suggestions.

  2. Mickey says:

    I think that Fedor and BJ is having a similar problem and scenario. They have already reached their peak but they are still quenching for improvements because the sport is growing so fast that fighters are improving quickly.

    I can say that they are suffering a mid-life crisis in their career but definitely, there will be a solution to that. They just have to rekindle the flame.

    • Rusk says:

      Except Bj hasn’t lost his chin and was never really a can crusher fedor should of hung it up 5+ years ago were as Bj has a good 5 or so years left

      • andyboy says:

        WOW, you’re comparing someone who’s been fighting at HW for 10+years as a small HW with someone fighting at LW for 7 years and WW-4 times MW 2, and LHW 1 time. Fedor got an uppercut from Dan Henderson…….i’m sure BJ would get KO’d too if he caught an Uppercut from Hendo. 5 years ago Dana white was begging Fedor to fight in the UFC becuz he knows the kind of money he would benefit form it, he would still pay a ridicloius amount to aquire Fedor, especially if Fedor decided to fight at LHW….you can believe whatever comes out of Dana’s mouth if you want, but that LYING slimy haole would take Fedor in a heart beat……either to make Fedor look bad or have the new badass LHW champion…..Fedor at LHW would be a conditioned BJ at LW!!!!

        • Cody says:

          Ummm dana already said there is no way in hell fedor would ever fight in the ufc lol. Fedor is not so great at all. Never has been.

        • DontBeScaredHomie says:

          Real talk Fedor is weak and his only fans are the stupid blind ones that still think he is great for some reason.

        • Luke says:

          Agreed. Fedor always dodged big fights. Most overrated fighter in history.

        • Rusk says:

          Look at that punch again the angle and range of motion it was easily only 10-20% power, if Dan had a better angle and more room to extend ferdors head would of been out in the cheap seats

  3. Wes says:

    I would have to agree…some people unknowingly set the standards very high..not only for themselves but for the sports they represent as well. Michael Phelps, Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning, Jimmie Johnson, BJ Penn, at the time they are just competing so they can’t see it from an outside perspective…but these people after time become legends because every one is striving to reach the bar that they have set so high… BJ Penn is a competitor. I am so over everyone hating on each other on BJPENN.com I love coming to this website to hear the good and the bad, I just can’t stand the unintelligent comments and posts. All I wasnted to say is, this is a great article…I just know somewhere down the line people are going to “hate” on it…no matter what you do or who you are theres always going to be haters.

    WW

  4. I have been watching BJ since he debuted in the Octogan. He has always entertained me and never served up a boring fight. This dude has a lot left in the tank but he has reached a nice healthy lifestyle which he earned. If BJ wants to go on sabbatical and enjoy being a father, a husband, a trainer, a businessman, a promoter…that is more than enough to earn my love and respect. Some poor souls can’t even get out of their parents house or hold down a job let alone win two belts in two different weight classes and fight like a champ every time. The man has done enough to earn a break as long as he wants…and the right to come back whenever he’s ready. Just like Couture. have a great day

  5. Taimanglo says:

    Good article, let it be known! BJ one of the UFC most successful cage fighters.

  6. Sho Nuff says:

    How many of these articles are we going to see. This is a Bj Penn fansite you dont need to try to talk us in to being fans.

    • Streetsweeper says:

      Then don’t read the article, you’re the one who took the time to read the article then post a comment complaining. This article is simply put up on BJPenn.com for anyone to read and nowhere does it say that it must be read or else, does it? Keep your thoughts to yourself and spare yourself time by not reading if it bothers you so much.

      • Rowe says:

        It can at least be written a bit better, honestly. “Hero’s,” for instance. That means “hero is.” Really, dude? Really? I don’t mind fandom, but a lot of these bloggers are just too damn sloppy.

        Also, calling people out for dissent is pathetic. You cared enough about what he said to reply, right? Thought so.

  7. khairitonov says:

    Stupid article. States the obvious. Anderson Silva was dominant as bj was 10 yrs ago and is still going just like bj.

    • BJpennrules says:

      I am a big Silva fan..and not a wrestling fan at all…but I think in the future the top wrestlers at MW will have Silvas number…but that will be in the next 1 to 2 years..
      watching Chael Sonnen beat up Silva for 4 rounds..that watching Chael tap…the spider will have to knock out all these top wrestlers because still..there is no MW that will be able to stand with the spyder right now..he is just too quick.
      I am a big Munoz fan…but he shouldnt be calling out Silva just yet the spyder will knock his shit out in the 1st or 2nd round just like he did to Vitor and Vitor would destroy Munoz.

  8. noway says:

    This artical would’ve been good if they had something new that was quoted from BJ, or if it was written with out a new quote the day after the bj vs diaz fight but its a little to late to have put this out now. Either way BJ is the elite of the elite and he’ll always be my favorite fighter. I love that dude!

  9. Deez Nuttz says:

    BJ is a true warrior !!! All you faggots can STFU!!

  10. BJpennrules says:

    BJ Penn yes,, is good enough right now to take that lightweight belt from whoever holds it the problem is his training..not that he does not train hard..its just that he does not train correctly….if he was still with the Maranivich brothers..right now he would still be the lightweight champion….but thats OK he wanted to test himself at WW..and thats OK too…no matter what BJ does his fans love him …because regardless of whether he wins at LW or loses at WW, we all love the true warrior spirtit within him thats why we are his fans!…Go BJ! I am not a UFC trainer these are just my observations.

  11. pk9grrr says:

    plain and simple some heroes of yesterday who had a part in laying the foundations of this sport, stay with the same mentality of the past which have made them successful ..the evolvement of the sport and fighters today have caught up to them..so bj if his heart is still in the fight game needs to evolve with the time to.

  12. Shawn says:

    Whether BJ retires or not, I’m glad to have been part of that era, and earlier. After some time off, I hope he finds his footing again.

  13. effyocouch says:

    Good article, but I disagree with you saying that that small list of fighters are the only legends still fighting (unless of course you mean the golden age of the UFC and not the golden age of MMA). Legends not on that list that are worth mentioning: Wanderlei Silva, Shogun, Rampage, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mark Hunt, Takanori Gomi, Sakuraba, Allistair Overeem, Fedor, and some people (though not myself) even consider Arlovski a legend. I’m sure there are more I’m forgetting, but my memory is terrible. Again, you may have been talking about the golden age of the UFC, but if you were talking about the golden age of MMA, then these are all names I feel are worth mentioning. As for the article well, I’m still shocked and hope BJ doesn’t end up retiring.

  14. HawaiiRN808 says:

    BJ should return to UFC in the lightweight division when he is ready.

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