Penn, St. Pierre ready for war
Final presser for UFC 94
Report by Anthony Springer Jr
Georges “Rush” St-Pierre and “The Prodigy” BJ Penn got most of their talking out of the way during the three week run of “UFC Primetime.”
Needless to say, the pair of highly touted mixed martial artists were men of few words at yesterday’s UFC 94: St-Pierre vs. Penn 2 press conference.
“I’m here, I’m ready, let’s go,” the usually talkative Penn said.
“This is one of those fights that will make history. I’ve never been so excited for a fight, I can’t wait,” the welterweight champion added.
At times, it seemed, at least verbally, that UFC president Dana White was more excited about the fight than both Penn and St-Pierre. While at the podium, he compared the potential instant classic to some of boxing’s greatest bouts.
“You’re lucky if you can see three or four of these in your lifetime,” White said. “This is Hagler-Hearns, this is Hagler-Leonard. This is one of those type of fights. I truly believe the guy who wins the fight on Saturday night will walk out of there a huge superstar and is on his way to becoming one of the greatest fighters who ever lived.”
Even super fights have their detractors. Some in the media and on the Internet have criticized the making of the bout because it ties up two divisions in the UFC—the welterweight and lightweight divisions—that have patiently waiting challengers in Kenny “KenFlo” Florian and Thiago Alves.
“Who gives a shit?” White said to laughter. “Super fights are awesome. Who wouldn’t like a super fight to see two of the best in the world? This isn’t one of those fights that after it’s over, people will say, ‘BJ should’ve stayed at 155 pounds, he’s too small.’ BJ Penn has held the title at 170 pounds and beat Matt Hughes when Matt Hughes was on top of the world. It’s ridiculous. People are always going to bitch about something.
“[Kenny and Thiago] understand that. I guarantee you that if Thiago or Kenny were in the same position they’d want the opportunities that [St-Pierre and Penn] are gonna get.”
Despite the back and forth that has gone on over the air waves via “UFC Primetime,” both men insist that no bad blood exist and they’ll shake hands after the fight—regardless of the outcome.
The defending champion believes that in addition to cementing a legacy, the man who wins the match will not be the man with the most skill, but the man who wants it more.
“I want it more than BJ because there is one thing; when I compete, I compete against myself. Last time I fought BJ, I went to decision. I want to finish him. I want to be known as the best fighter in the world and to do so, there’s this guy named BJ Penn and I need to beat him.”
When Penn was pressed on why he wanted the victory more, the UFC lightweight champion was direct and to the point.
“Legacy, all that different stuff, I just wanna kick his ass.”