by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com

On Jan

On Jan. 19, BJ Penn has the opportunity to become only the
second fighter in Ultimate Fighting Championship history to hold titles in two
weight classes, the other being UFC legend Randy Couture. First he has to face
Joe Stevenson, possibly the toughest test the Hawaiian has ever faced at 155


The UFC lightweight title is something that Penn has long
sought after, fighting for the championship twice previously, but never tasting
gold when the bell sounded.


Now with top ten fighter Joe Stevenson standing in his way,
Penn knows just exactly how important this fight is to his career.


“This fight is huge,” he said. “Joe Stevenson’s a great
opponent. He’s got so many weapons, so many tools he brings into this fight and
this is the most important fight of my life.


“I know people say it every single time, but without a doubt
if I win this fight, I’ll become the guy who had two titles in two divisions
and I’m already thinking about this fight all the time. This is so important to


The lightweight division is the current conquest for the versatile
Penn who has also been the UFC welterweight champion, but the Hawaiian prodigy
feels conditioning is the biggest factor no matter what weight he fights at.


“I’m leaner, I’m fast, I’m quick, but it just depends on the
kind of shape I get in no matter what weight I’m at,” Penn stated. “In this
sport, you better get in shape or you’re not going to be around.”


For as tremendous as Penn’s overall MMA game has been, the world
has seen his gas tank fade in crucial fights in the past, but he is working
harder than ever to make sure the upcoming fight with Stevenson is as exciting
as ever.


“I’m going up against a great opponent, but nobody wants to
see me win a five-round decision,” he said. “I’m going out there and I’m going
out there to win the fight and finish this fight and that’s what I’ve got to


“People aren’t paying money to watch me and Joe Stevenson
fight five rounds and jab each other to death. No one wants to see that. This
is the Ultimate Fighting Championship, somebody wants to see somebody go down
and that’s what this is going to be on Jan. 19.”


Much has been made lately about Penn’s legacy in the sport
of mixed martial arts and one thing is for sure, that he will always be
considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters ever, but right now he only
has one goal in mind and he’ll deal with his legacy another day.


“I’ve never regretted a thing that I’ve ever done before,”
Penn stated emphatically. “But I’m here and Dana’s given me this opportunity
to come back and to fight in the 155-pound division and see how I do and take
it from there.”