UFC 123: Is BJ Penn A Legitimate Welterweight Title Contender Again?
After returning to the welterweight division for the first time in two years, and making short work of Matt Hughes in the process, a new question has emerged: Is BJ Penn a real contender for the welterweight title?
Penn looked very impressive at UFC 123, any time you knock an opponent out within 30 seconds it's going to be impressive. He clocked Hughes with a right to the jaw and that was all she wrote.
But before all the hype comes back to Penn, we need to keep things in perspective. He was fighting the Matt Hughes of 2010, who is 37 years old and a solid fighter but not what he used to be. Plus, Penn has already proven that he can beat Hughes, having beaten him once and dominating him in another fight before a freak injury cost him.
BJ was always going to come out in this fight in great shape, showing the talent that we all know he has but tends to drift off occasionally. I don't think that this fight is the one that's going to tell us about him. His next fight will be more important.
That next fight, which Dana White has said will be against Jon Fitch in February, will give us a definitive answer about how serious BJ Penn is to get back his aura. If he stays in shape and takes the fight serious and shows off his talent then we can put him back into welterweight title contention. Right now, it's still a little too early for that.