Saturday night inside The Pearl at The Palms Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, BJ Penn provided anything but an oasis for Jens Pulver. As Pulver himself said, “There was no getting out of it. I tried, but he was putting it on me.”
In exclusive comments to MMAWeekly.com editor Ken Pishna following the fight, Penn commented on his attempts to trade strikes with Pulver, a fighter known for his knockout power and toughness. “I was trying to knock him out the same way he was trying to knock me out.”
Although Penn was very aggressive in finishing fights early in his career, Pulver felt that was a distinction to his credit now compared to the first time the two fought at UFC 35 in early 2002. “He was more finishing, more punishing.”
Penn credits his renewed dedication to training for this fight when discussing his performance. “This past 6 months, that’s all I’ve been doing. All I’ve been doing is training, man, ever since December. I didn’t even go out and party on New Year’s Eve.” Especially physically, Penn appeared to be an entirely different fighter than the thin kid we saw in 2002. His newfound physicality dwarfed the 152-pound Pulver.
In talking with Penn, it seems that his new training regimen is something that will likely carry his decision on where to fight in the future, staying at the 155-pound mark or moving back up the 170-pound division where he has twice tasted defeat since his return to the UFC.
Aside from where he stands physically in either division, Penn has a fighter in mind that he feels there is unfinished business with. Anyone familiar with his return to the UFC knows immediately who that fighter is. But with Pulver at least, Penn has found closure.
“Yeah, it’s over, it’s over, I’m done,” reflecting on the bad blood that fueled the blaze between the two The Ultimate Fighter coaches. “I just want to be his friend.”
These are just some of the comments and subjects that BJ Penn talked about In The Cage EXCLUSIVELY with MMAWeekly.com. To see the entire interview, go to MMAWeekly.com’s In The Cage available to Premium Members.
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