If you know OntheMat, who we are and what we represent then it should be no surprise that we are BJ Penn fans.
We have grown in this spot together, I remember Reagan, BJ’s incredibly talented not so little brother, then only 15 tapping me for the first time. I will never forget boxing a very young BJ and all the beautiful flashes of light that come along with boxing BJ Penn. And of course the amazing power and will of JD Penn Jr. and his famous bag of “prick moves” this is what you get when you are either, not really much of a challenge for JD or he simply doesn’t like you or come to think of it, more likely both (laughing to myself ).
For those of you who don’t know what “prick moves” are, well they are all the little pain causing tricks, hip bone to the eye socket, elbow to the ribs basically anything causing intense pain but not enough to tap without feeling like a pussy. Of which JD is the undisputed king.
There is one more brother Jay Penn but since he never moved to California I didn’t get the chance to offer any interesting stories to our readers. Sorry Jay – When speaking about the Penn’s you can’t forget Jodi Penn JD Jr.’ s wife, always consistent always (the goto) to get things done even if it’s as simple as, where we gonna eat?
It has truly been an honor to have been repeatedly beaten by all of the Penn brothers and to have born witness how legends are born. This story starts with unconditional love and support from the Penn brothers, Mother and Father JD Penn. They are a true powerhouse of support. As Mr. Penn said “it has always been my goal to try to keep them together, I sent them to California together so they could train together. To this day they all still live on the same block to which they grew up, but now as neighbors, one house next to the other.
This should give our readers a better understanding of the relationship and respect OntheMat has for BJ Penn. For me it’s still hard to call myself a fan of anything I am someone who does things, not watch people doing things. Even the word fan being cut from the word fanatic reminds me of fat, face painted football or baseball fans hotdog dripping with mustard and ketchup in one hand and a beer in the other screaming for” their team” to win. A fan, – not me. But when you have felt super human abilities toying with you, throwing you around, crushing down on you, weight that you know he doesn’t possess or physically beating his dominance into your head you realize (some time after the stars go away), that this guy is on another level. Having born witness to BJ’s incredible talents, yea… I am a BJ Penn fan!
As a friend and a fan I have many questions of my own ranging from his training to what he sees in his future.
So here is where we start the interview:
ddn- Knowing you for as long as I have, I have yet to see you this focused and its gotta feel good. Where is it coming from?
BJPENN- This sport is at another level and i woke up one day and said its time to get focused, it’s time to take this serious. I came off two loses and realized that I was not as focused as I could; you know I still wasn’t in a bad position. I could still fix all this now. I got focused got back on track and now I am the lightweight champ and still moving on.
ddn- What’s the diet? I see a lot of stuff in the kitchen, looks a lot different than the kitchen from the BJ that I know.
BJPENN- So you want to know what the diet is… you wish… next. hahahahaaa But no I am not giving up my diet but basically its lots of protein lots of carbs. Eat healthy foods you know what you should eat. I’ll give you one hint, only one, oatmeal ain’t only for breakfast.
ddn- And the training?
BJPENN- I ran into a guy named Tony Aponte, he taught me the calorie to workout ratio with that I can now train five hours a day, it’s the eating I would not be able to do it if I was not eating properly, five to six meals a day. Wake up eat a meal, train, eat a couple more meals, not going to tell everyone exactly how much.
In the morning I workout for two and a half to three hours every day, consisting of everything: plyometics, strength, technique, bag work, drills, drilling grappling; the mornings are road work, then stretching, and in the evenings its more competitive.
ddn- Do you still do lots of drills? For me that was one of the things you guys (Penn brothers) invented, not even going though the full motions of training but breaking down techniques and drilling them. How has that changed for MMA?
BJPENN- I do everything in five minute rounds from take down drills, to drilling my own stuff, to bag drills switching to different combos, bringing it back to the basics working a lot of technique again doing 20 arm locks to triangle drills each side, just staying sharp. At one point it was all about drills and you know what I am still all about it.
ddn- I saw the free training banner in your last fight what’s that about?
BJPENN- Exactly what is says: free training www.BJPENN.com its everything, training, entertainment, instructional, I wanted to give everyone a good look into what’s going on over here and in the world of professional mixed martial artists, we have new fighters coming all the time you can see them too. There is really nothing like it. www.BJPENN.com
ddn- I couldn’t help from feeling a little bad for Joe in your fight with him I know he is a great fighter and he probably is a better fighter than what he showed in your fight, but it also looked like you were holding back. Did you?
BJPENN- I know Joe, I have hung out with Joe many times, and I like Joe. But as we came closer to the fight i remember Alex Oxendine telling me that Joe would always come up to him and say you know I really want to fight BJ and I thought as we got closer, you know what, you are gonna get what you asked for. I realize he wants to test himself but you do get what you ask for and he would have been happy to do that to me. But as far as Joe he is a great guy!
ddn- We were watching your UFC pre fight countdown and when you were hitting the bag we saw what we are calling the matrix punch, you used it on Joe when you were mounted, do you know what we are talking about? Dat shit was ill…
BJPENN- I don’t know, was it a left hook?
ddn- Must be a pretty incredible feeling to have achieved UFC titles in two weight classes, how does it feel? Has that always been part of the goal?
BJPENN- It’s really is good to finally get it in the lightweight because that’s the one I went for first and OntheMat has been there with me from the beginning and the lightweight title is what it was about from the beginning and to miss it with the Pulver fight and then with the Uno fight, going in to this I was like I would have to have died in there, there was no way I was going to miss it again. There was no way I was going to have to hear, man you almost got the belt or you should have done this and this, yep I would have had to of been dead so I didn’t have to hear that shit!
ddn- Steroid use has and will always be an issue in pro sports and I don’t think it’s any surprise to our readers that a lot of the Pride fighters were allegedly boosting their training, do you think that the strict testing in the UFC has contributed to some of the losses we have seen?
BJPENN- It kinda does look like some of the pride fighters are off the juice and that they gotta find a different way now. But you still got guys doing good like Quinton Jackson and Anderson Silva so I wouldn’t say that over all everyone in Pride was doing steroids but you do have to speculate because they don’t test in Japan. But you can’t point a finger if you don’t have proof.
ddn- In your history do you think that you have fought any fighters using steroids?
BJPENN- There is a good possibility that I have fought fighters that were on the juice but even worse than steroids is the blood doping that is even cheating more, steroids is one thing your stronger whatever, technique can beat strength but when you add more to your cardio that the other guy doesn’t naturally have, now that’s is a just a coward thing to do.
ddn- Has anything changed in the training plan for the Sherk fight?
BJPENN- Well Joe was a more deadly submission guy, Sherk probably has a little better hands and powerful takedowns and explosiveness but I just gotta keep my focus, train for Sherk but honestly I don’t really feel like I am the champ and I am here to just fight fights.
ddn- Bringing in any new training partners?
BJPENN- Yep Urijah Fabor is here and Grey Maynard is coming, lots of wrestlers and I know if I train hard and come out sharp, I am not underestimating Sherk but I don’t see where he stands a chance.
ddn- I know you still have to beat Sherk to solidify being the lightweight champ. I know that Sherk is a great athlete, but knowing you, I know your master plan is beyond Sherk. Are you thinking about GSP or Hughes or even taking a crack at Anderson Silva, whacha thinking B?
BJPENN- After I beat Sherk it would really be great to see who’s next in the lightweight division. I would love to keep the lightweight title and I also want to get a shot to avenge GSP and Hughes, Anderson Silva is a great fighter but I gotta take care of some other guys first.
ddn- Many people may not remember or know that you went three rounds Lyoto Machida, for those who do, saw BJ bullying him around in the first round, the judges gave the fight to Lyoto but the fans sure thought you won. Who do you think will win the Tito vs Lyoto fight?
BJPENN- Yea – Tito has a really good style for Lyoto, Lyoto hasn’t been in the fence and Tito can get him there and really use those elbows and ground and pound. I think that’s what it is going to come down to. Tito getting his game on getting those takedowns, stabilizing, making space and ripping those elbows down like in the old days, should be a great night for him. Lyoto he’s got to do what he did to Sokoudjou, Lyoto is probably a little better in the trading but Tito is always getting better with his stand up. Lyoto needs to work his Jui-Jitsu, sweep and work his way back up, but it’s a tough fight.
ddn- Do you think Lyoto has the same game as when you fought him or has he improved?
BJPENN- I think Lyoto has the same strengths as before but his jiu jitsu looks better and he was a tough guy then and he still is, he punches hard.
ddn- Given your history of supporting our armed forces, and knowing my brother Mikee is a rescue swimmer for the US Coast Guard protecting our borders from terrorists coming in from Canada and saving any poor soul whom needs helio support. Can you hook him up with a decent seat for the Sherk fight? I promised him I’d ask.
BJPENN- Ill talk to Dana wish me luck…