UFC Insider: Can BJ Penn make 145 lbs?

Showdown Joe answers fan questions in this UFC Central Ask the Insider, including whether BJ Penn can be successful at 145 lbs., and how Joe became known as "Showdown" Joe.


With a break between UFC events, I figured I would be able to take a breather and catch up on some research. Instead, headlines in the MMA world have been coming out non-stop, many of which generated a few questions for this week’s column. Here are a few that caught my eye.

My initial answer is yes, I’d much rather see Frankie take on a current contender. But BJ Penn has an “it” factor that will drive viewership to The Ultimate Fighter. With these two as coaches, you can expect the unexpected. Frankie’s a calm guy, and BJ has no problem being an antagonist, so don’t be surprised if BJ starts to stir the pot, and Frankie only takes so much.

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As for the fight, it’s likely BJ’s swan song, unless he pulls off the victory. He’s already lost twice to Frankie, and that was at 155 lbs. Now he has to make 145 lbs. for this bout. On the surface, many are asking how can BJ, currently at age 34 (and he’ll be 35) possibly make a weight lower than he has never competed at? Right off the bat, people will say he will cheat and use some sort of performance enhancing drug, but he’s always been a champion of being clean, and I believe him.

This might be the link that has been missing for BJ over the past few years.

While he was motivated when he fought Rory, Diaz, Fitch and others, these bouts were at 170 lbs., that’s in and around his natural weight. BJ has wanted to fight Frankie for a third time, since their rematch. It’s been bugging him ever since. And now, finally, he gets his wish.

But now he must add discipline to his motivation. That’s a big key here. For BJ to make 145 lbs., he will have to stick to a detailed and somewhat harsh regimen. If you hear that ringing right now, that’s probably Mike Dolce’s phone.

While the percentages are not in his favour, a 145 lbs. BJ Penn could make for a very scary proposition for anyone, let alone Frankie Edgar. And what if BJ wins? Look out folks.

I’m not truly sure how I should answer your question, but I am under the assumption you believe Anderson Silva, arguably the greatest of all time, is done. In essence, he shouldn’t show up for the rematch vs. Chris Weidman in December?

Unless I’ve missed the memo, the one thing I’d ask of you sir, is to ask me this exact same question on December 29th.

I’m sure you mean the “actual” title and not the “interim” title. Either way, the winner will get the interim title. Word on the street is that Dominick Cruz, the “official” champ has been given an “unofficial” deadline of returning to the octagon by January, 2014. If he is unable to return, I believe he will be stripped of the title. I don’t really know how I feel about this, but I do understand if that’s how it all plays out.

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I’ve heard the “loser leaves town” analogy far too many times over the years, but this is one fight where I believe it fits. Neither guy can afford to lose. Whomever does, that’s likely it for them. But the winner will remain relevant, and seeing as the heavyweight division isn’t the deepest, they would likely be one win away from the title mix.

I don’t see why not. There is a plethora of talent on both sides of the border to put together a show that covers a natural rivalry, one that has been built over decades with so many other sports. Personally, I’d love to see it, namely because there are so many Canadians that will try out for TUF Nations, and not all of them will make it. With some of the names that I know of that are trying out, I could already put together a team for Patrick Cote. But it’s often up to the producers to decide who ends up making the shows. You can fight? Great. But can you keep the viewer tuned in, and returning next week? That’s television folks.

It’s definitely a fight that I did not see coming. Two guys who I thought were on opposite sides of my heavyweight bracket and whom I believed would not fight one another for quite some time. Perhaps it was a by-product of Fabricio Werdum turning down the fight vs. Browne; maybe that’s a sign that Fabricio has been guaranteed the next title shot.

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Retire is a strong word, but I would assume with a loss the option to go through that door would be seriously considered.

As for the Maritimes, likely whatever city that has an arena that can fit at least 5,000 people, and is the closest to TJ Grant’s house. And if he becomes the champ, perhaps the city with an arena that can hold at least 12,000 plus.

I think that would be great to see, but he’d fighting guys who naturally walk around 190 lbs. plus. That’s a big size difference there, but truth be told, Bendo is perfectly fine at 155 lbs. There are tons of guys he can still compete against. And how cool would it be to see him convince Dana White that he deserves a third bout vs. Pettis? The work he will have to put in will be immense, but if he can pull it off, and Anthony is still the champ, that would be a great story to say the least.

I do not believe he has earned it, but the other side of the coin is that Jonny Jones (should he defeat Alexander Gustafson) is in need of challengers. He does not want to do any rematches, so Glover is one option, Daniel Cormier is another. But after that, at 205 lbs., options are currently limited. And I’m not buying the Jacare story right now.

I’m a decade removed from being a pro wrestling fan, so it’s tough for me to answer. I personally don’t like the idea, but I understand it. Promoting is a science, and the basics of promoting is getting the word out there to as many eyes and ears as you can. If the vehicle of pro wrestling can get extra buys for the pay per view, then why not use it.

I’m not sure Greg will be in Georges corner, but I do know they are still talking. Having Jackson in the corner would be fantastic, but you are only allowed so many licensed seconds. Remember, there’s his head coach Firas Zahabi, grappling guru and sage John Danaher, muay thai coach Phil Nurse and his mentor Kristof Midoux. There are others as well. It’s a nice problem to have for Georges, but he will be very meticulous as to who he has standing behind him and motivating him vs. Johny Hendricks.

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I get this one once a week, usually in person. Actually, it feels like it’s a daily question.

To make a super long story short, in 2000, I co-founded a clothing line called “Showdown Fightwear”, which then spawned “Showdown Boxing”, and equipment line catering to the combat sports. We quickly began sponsoring fighters and events (some grass roots, some overseas, and some in the UFC). At various events, consumers would ask where they could get a t-shirt, or gloves etc. and fighters/fans would say go see “Joe.” Which “Joe” was usually the response, and they would point to our table/booth, and people would say “Showdown Joe.” It stuck with me, and I decided to keep it as well. I’ve tried to drop it, but far too many people have said not to.

Here’s a few from my Facebook page:

Paolo Bandiera asked “Would all mma fighters sign a drug free termination contract if implemented by Dana white?”

If implemented by Dana White, what choice would they have?

David Crundwell asked “My question is when will instant replay be coming? ,with the adaptation of the new “phantom Cam” You should be able to put a stop to a lot of missed calls by refs.”

All great ideas proposed to Athletic Commissions are often shut down before the full proposal could be presented.

There are pros and cons to the idea, but I mainly see pros. In all situations, I would like to see the right result documented in the history books. If that means reversing an incorrect call or decision via instant replay or by any logical and ethical means that is available, then do it. If something is “wrong”, why is it so difficult to reverse. I’ve never understood this about Athletic Commissions.

Marshall Schey asked “In light of Matthew Riddles comments about fighters getting brain damage. What are the real statistics on brain damage?”

There isn’t much info out there, but much more is finally becoming available. The one thing I pay very close attention to are the constant results stemming from the Cleveland Clinic. A great piece came out on MedPageToday.com in March, with disturbing results.

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