Does Frankie Edgar loss at UFC 118 change BJ Penn's legacy?

MMAPlayground.com » MMA General » General MMA Talk » Does Frankie Edgar loss at UFC 118 change BJ Penn's legacy?
POLL: Is B.J one of the all time greats?
Yeah 61% (17)
No way 39% (11)
If he was Don King would have signed him 0% (0)
SmileR
8/29/10 3:06:23PM
It's long been a given that BJ Penn is one of the greatest fighters of all time. We hear it from Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan every time he fights in the Octagon and he's a multiple time world champion in two weight classes. But after losing two in a row, is it time to reevaluate where Penn stands in the annals of MMA history? Jonathan Snowden, who wrote a book about the history of MMA, thinks so:

The raw numbers stand out like a sore thumb. In title fights, BJ Penn is a pedestrian 5-5-1. For every big fight he wins, he loses one in turn. The true greats of the sport, your Georges St. Pierres, your Matt Hughes, your Frank Shamrocks, your Fedor Emelianenkos, are defined by rising to the occasion. When the fights get tougher, these men only get better. Not so with BJ Penn.

BJ Penn is a front runner. We learned that for the first time against Jens Pulver at UFC 35. Crowned as champion before even stepping into the cage, Penn had no answer for Pulver's heart and determination. When the fight got to the point where it demanded each man expose his very soul to walk away the winner, Penn faltered. Pulver stepped forward. That was the difference.

Sports Illustrated's Josh Gross agrees:

About that "best ever" tag that follows Penn wherever he goes, it needs to be reconsidered. Most talented? Hard to argue he wouldn't qualify. But did he get the most out of his gifts? I don't think so. And you don't need to look further than Penn's career and the choices he made to understand why.

For starters, he was fast-tracked. In just his fourth fight, Penn was given a title shot against Jens Pulver. He lost. There was no grooming the Hawaiian. Then, in his seventh fight, he received another title shot. This time a draw against Caol Uno. Two fights later -- after defeating Takanori Gomi in what remains his biggest win in the lightweight division -- Penn moved up a class to fight top welterweight Matt Hughes. That victory may have been the worst thing that happened to Penn. It fed into an obsession resulting in his multi-weight excursion. Two fights later he was at 185. Next, a bout at light heavyweight versus Lyoto Machida. Back to middleweight and then a return to 170, where he lost consecutively to Georges St. Pierre and Matt Hughes.


Link

What do you guys think? Is B.J over rated?
mrsmiley
8/29/10 4:37:31PM
I don't think BJ is overrated by the fans. We all know the guy has everything in the toolbox but he just comes up short at times when it really counts.

The problem with the UFC is they tend to praise him too much when he's around and have shown they considerd him too little when he's not. I think how his realtionship ends up with the UFC will tell us alot about he is potrayed in the history books.
TheGodfather1024
8/29/10 5:58:37PM
I don't think it does, Franke just has the perfect style to beat Penn
Jackelope
8/29/10 6:20:12PM
I'm going to go against the norm here and say that it does.

Like a few others I will say that he has some of the best talent in the world. That being said, I'm at a point in my life where I'm learning talent only gets you so far. You've got to work harder than ever to be the best at whatever you're doing. This is where BJ lacks IMO. We all know his faults. If he wants to be the best ever, why doesn't he work on these? Cardio is within his control. Not to mention his general attitude (which leads to his cardio problems)

Can the same be said of Fedor? What are his faults? He cuts easily? He literally has no control over that.

GSP's biggest problem was his wrestling. Obviously he more than worked hard enough on that to make up for the issues it caused him in the past with Matt Hughes. The knock after that was his chin, but again.. obviously... he's worked on his striking and his technique enough to make that a non-factor in any fight he goes into.

That is just a couple of examples. For me, the fact that BJ has the power to control some of his weaknesses and yet does not control them shows me that NO, he is not one of the best ever. Could he have been one of the best ever? Absolutely. Was there a time when I considered him one of the best ever? Yes, absolutely. But, IMO, he lost that with this last fight. He's been steadily losing it over his last couple of fights and therefore has forced me personally to look back on his career and to question his status as a p4p great. Talent only gets you to the bottom of hard work hill. The rest of the way is all guts and determination.

On a side note I also have to say that maybe he mentally "lost it". He lost the edge. Like Maverick. He held on too tight, now he lost the edge haha. But the mental game is all part of being one of the greatest. So I have to factor that into the legacy equation.

BlueSkiesBurn
8/29/10 6:39:18PM

Posted by Jackelope

I'm going to go against the norm here and say that it does.

Like a few others I will say that he has some of the best talent in the world. That being said, I'm at a point in my life where I'm learning talent only gets you so far. You've got to work harder than ever to be the best at whatever you're doing. This is where BJ lacks IMO. We all know his faults. If he wants to be the best ever, why doesn't he work on these? Cardio is within his control. Not to mention his general attitude (which leads to his cardio problems)

Can the same be said of Fedor? What are his faults? He cuts easily? He literally has no control over that.

GSP's biggest problem was his wrestling. Obviously he more than worked hard enough on that to make up for the issues it caused him in the past with Matt Hughes. The knock after that was his chin, but again.. obviously... he's worked on his striking and his technique enough to make that a non-factor in any fight he goes into.

That is just a couple of examples. For me, the fact that BJ has the power to control some of his weaknesses and yet does not control them shows me that NO, he is not one of the best ever. Could he have been one of the best ever? Absolutely. Was there a time when I considered him one of the best ever? Yes, absolutely. But, IMO, he lost that with this last fight. He's been steadily losing it over his last couple of fights and therefore has forced me personally to look back on his career and to question his status as a p4p great. Talent only gets you to the bottom of hard work hill. The rest of the way is all guts and determination.

On a side note I also have to say that maybe he mentally "lost it". He lost the edge. Like Maverick. He held on too tight, now he lost the edge haha. But the mental game is all part of being one of the greatest. So I have to factor that into the legacy equation.




I agree with this post 100%.

There was a point last night where the look on B.J.'s face was one that, to me, looked like he didn't care or knew he wasn't going to finish Edgar. I will say that I was completely shocked by his humble attitude after the fight, maybe he's turning a personality corner. I doubt it, though.

I think that B.J. is, like Jackelope said, one of the most talented people in MMA. He just doesn't have the work ethic that the other champions have.

If your opponents, fans, AND boss have questioned your work ethic, I don't believe that you belong in an "all time" great discussion.

Were this any other sport, we wouldn't even be mentioning his name among the all time greats.

I sort of think of Jerry Rice's induction into the NFL HOF. Leading up to that ceremony they showed vignettes about his work ethic, they interviewed people regarding his work ethic, and he himself included his work ethic into his speech. The greats in any sport have his dedication and work ethic towards their individual sport coupled with their talent.

B.J. never had that. I voted that he is NOT one of the all-time greats.
Pookie
8/29/10 7:47:30PM


Id have to say that Bj Penn is one of hardest people to fight in the sport. Theres a particular style that he has trouble beating, but so does every other fighter. I think Penn's record of 5-5-1 in title fights has more to do with him dipping out of his comfort zone and challenging the best the sport has to offer than him not being talented enough to win more often than not. Very few fighters fight such a consistently tough schedule of opponents. By choice.

Now if you compare him to GSP, Georges definitely leaves a stronger legacy because of his dominance in his division. But the legend of BJ Penn is stronger, In my humble opinion, because he didnt limit himself to a division. He fought the very best the sport had to offer, if he could get them to sign the contract. He didn't care about proving he was the best 155er of all time, he wanted to prove to himself that he could fight any man that on earth. He didn't allow the concept of weight classes to shield him from larger fighters. In a real fight situation, you dont get to choose the size of your opponent. If he's 250 you just have to deal with it.

In the sport of fighting, a long winning streak and reign at the top will definitely keep you in the tops of the record books and give you a heavily accoladed legacy. Espn ten years from now will show fighters ascending up the latter to conquer what Gsp accomplished. But fifty years from now, ill be telling my kids about Penn. An Iron Jawed, quick reflexed fighter who was so well rounded and talented that he fought a list of the p4p best regardless of what weight class they belonged to.
He continues to challenge the best regardless of the losses he might acquire, Thats the stuff of legend. And in the context of what fighting truly is, i admire a legend much more than someone with a legacy.
Jackelope
8/29/10 8:25:40PM
Out of curiosity can anyone remember come from behind victories from Penn? I'm trying to think of one but drawing a blank
jae_1833
8/29/10 9:16:47PM
Penn is for sure a legend....I'm just not a fan and never have been. He's all talent no heart....doesn't train has a huge ego and all of a sudden he's hooked on his boxing when it's not what got him here to begin with. But you can't erase the guys past due to recent losses....that would be like saying that Lidell, Chuck, Wand and CroCop aren't legends.
Jackelope
8/29/10 9:56:13PM

Posted by jae_1833
But you can't erase the guys past due to recent losses....that would be like saying that Lidell, Chuck, Wand and CroCop aren't legends.



My only knock on this is that Wandy and Liddell have been going through obvious physical changes in age which have lead to their losses. For Chuck he has no control over how chinny he has become. For Wanderlei I don't consider any of his recent losses to be bad at all, but I will say that to me it looks like his age has caught up a bit and he's a slight bit slower. He lost to a fired up and motivated Quinton Jackson who had just recently held the belt. He lost to the perennially underestimated Rich Franklin and also lost to Chuck in supremely close matches. The Chuck fight took place 3 years ago and was honestly probably Chuck's last great fight he had in him.

That being said, I still consider BJ to be in this realm of fighters. My post was more towards addressing how BJ could have, and should have, been in the talks of the Fedors, GSP's and Anderson Silvas of the world. He lost that status with this loss IMO. I still put him up there with the Chuck, Wanderlei, Rich Franklins of the world.
jae_1833
8/29/10 11:09:16PM
I see what your saying now and you have a great point, I just never thought he was heading that way. I have put him in my pound for pound best for his ability and willingness to make great fights at multiple weight classes, where as I have those (Fedor GSP and Silva) ther for their shere domination within their class.
SmileR
8/30/10 12:19:04PM

Posted by Jackelope
Talent only gets you to the bottom of hard work hill.



Awesome quote! And I couldn't agree more with what you've posted in this thread. B.J reminds me of guy I used to go to school with. He cruised straight A's al the way through got into a good university and did well for a year but once the work upped and things got harder he faded away and eventually finished with an average at best grade.

This was a guy who honestly could have been one of the brightest people in the country, I'd never seen anyone take to learning like him but he was never pushed and when he was he crumbled. This stopped him from ever being great in his field much like B.J's lazy attitude has stopped him from being remembered as one of the greats.

He does have the talent and the skills, not to mention the personality that would help him be remembered but his lack of drive and out right laziness to train cardio has stopped him reaching the level of GSP, Silva, Hughes, Chuck and many others who have all lost but came back stronger and with more determination.
B.J seams to fade away when pushed when a true great would push back and step up.
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