Adversity makes strange bedfellows… or is it politcs?
Nevertheless, mixed martial arts competition seems to make for odd alliances as well.
Case in point, who would have thought that after a three-fight series that saw B.J. Penn win twice and Matt Hughes once, that the two former UFC welterweight champions would be training together?
That’s what happened recently when the Hawaiian fighting legend invited the UFC Hall of Famer to Hawaii to help Penn train for his UFC 127 main event bout with Jon Fitch. Hughes gladly accepted.
“B.J. Penn had texted me a couple of weeks ago to see if I had some time to come out and train and get him ready for Fitch. After that initial call, I checked my schedule, said I could come, and had him send me Fitch’s last five fights,” Hughes wrote in his official blog on Monday.
It seems a little odd on the surface, seeing as how the two have had a rivalry that lasted nearly seven years. Training with Hughes in preparation for Fitch makes perfect sense for Penn, however. Fitch is an accomplished wrestler with a decent stand-up game and a few submissions that he’s really good at. Hughes is also an accomplished wrestler with a decent stand-up game and a few submissions that he’s really good at.
The magic number in MMA rivalries appears to be three. So it’s unlikely that the two will set foot in the Octagon together any time soon, especially with Hughes nearing the end of his storied career, making it the right time for their careers to converge.
“I think we got some good training in,” wrote Hughes. “I’d love to sit here and tell you what we worked on, but I just can’t.
“It was a great experience for me. First off, I got to train with BJ; I think we would both say that we’re a lot alike. And number two, I got to spend some quality time with my daughter. I’m on the road a lot and usually my family is at home. This time I was gone for nine days and got to take my four-and-a-half-year-old daughter with me.”