T Nation

Quote on Greatness that Applies to Fighters

People always give me drama when I say B.J. Penn is not an all-time great. I say, “In tough situations, he does not find a way to pull out the win. He lost to Huges via broken rip, and to GSP via getting tired.” Unlike, say, Fedor, who always finds a way to win. Slam him, daze him, do anything to him; he’ll still find a way to win. That’s greatness. It’s more than just ability. Finding a way to win is what makes a champion.

I was reminded of that when reading a Mark Spitz quote about Michael Phelps: “I think that the relationship between people that are great is they have a common thread of knowing how to beat their competitors and they know how to constantly be in shape and in top form,” Spitz told the Daily News.

Makes perfect sense when you think about it. It perfectly describes a champion.

Hell, look at the Phelps’ win against the Serb. Phelps was down. He should have lost. He found a way to win. Same thing with Fedor. He finds a way to win.

But BJ Penn? He seems to find a way to lose. Yet people still refer to him as one of the best of all time. Why? Because, in theory, he is the most gifted? Since when does theory become reality in a sport where no one needs to make guesses. You can simply prove yourself in the ring or cage.

as much as I love to watch Penn fight, I have to agree. His heart comes in spourts, it seems.

I don’t think you can count Fedor, with the whole him not being human thing.

In all fairness BJ is typically losing outside of his weightclass. He isn’t an alltime great, but the potential is there if he would stay at 155 and continue to dominate or if he makes his move to 170 and dominates everybody there. Up until now he isn’t, but he could be.

I don’t know why anyone would question his heart. Work ethic maybe, but someone who is willing to get in the ring with anyone (and I do mean anyone) is not lacking in the heart department.

[quote]slimjim wrote:
In all fairness BJ is typically losing outside of his weightclass. He isn’t an alltime great, but the potential is there if he would stay at 155 and continue to dominate or if he makes his move to 170 and dominates everybody there. Up until now he isn’t, but he could be.

I don’t know why anyone would question his heart. Work ethic maybe, but someone who is willing to get in the ring with anyone (and I do mean anyone) is not lacking in the heart department.[/quote]

He needs to stay at 155. 170 gives him too much opportunity to slack off, at 155 he HAS to be in shape.

I think BJ shows signs of greatness. When he is on, he does show glimpses of that god like characteristic of Fedor. Watching the fight with Shrek was like a matter of time, I knew after the first 90 seconds or so there was no damn way BJ was losing that fight, even taking his often questionable conditioning into consideration.

Lately though he has been on a tear, i think he now has the emotional maturity necessary to putting his nose to the grindstone and wanting to be the greatest.

now he TRULY wants it so we’ll see. I’ll be watching with anticipation.