Change of opponents? Check. Last-second bump up to the main event? Check. Ten-month layoff entering said bout? Check. An opponent with a history of talking trash and shirking media obligations? Again, check.
Penn recently elaborated on his new mindset when it comes to competition in his blog for Yahoo Sports where he said all he truly cares about is coming away with his hand raised; not puffing his chest out to prove he’s the baddest kid on the block, not winning a third UFC championship.
Regarding a conference call from last week Diaz showed up forty minutes late for, rather than blow his top or feel insulted, Penn wrote, “I didn’t find it disrespectful; I think it is Nick being Nick, and he’s not gonna change. He’s going to do what he’s going to do, and not do what he’s not going to do. That is cool. I know he will show up for the fight and it will be a great fight in the new UFC 137 main event…That’s all that really matters – who wins this fight and who loses.”
“At this stage in my life, I feel I am too old to talk smack,” the 32-year old Hawaiian continued, also adding he had no problem with Georges St. Pierre withdrawing because at the end of the day the result of his fight with Carlos Condit is all people will remember. “As I get older, what I realize is that all anyone remembers is who wins fights. I find the smack talking funny when fighters do it, but no one remembers anything except who wins the fights.”
“As far as having to hate everyone I fight, or proving I can outbox a boxer, or tap out the best BJJ guy, I don’t need to prove that anymore,” Penn explained. “What I want to do is fight hard, win some big fights and see what happens. I’d like to win the title, but I don’t think about that…The funny thing is that title shots – and who gets title shots – are all about timing. If I had beaten Jon Fitch in Sydney in February and not had a Draw, I would have gotten a title shot. But now, even if I beat Diaz, I may not get a title shot.”
Rather than focus on things outside of his control, Penn will instead concentrate on the mountain he has to climb this Saturday night.
“Beating Diaz, title fight or no title fight, is a big deal. He’s a great fighter and dangerous anywhere. I won’t disrespect him, the fans or myself by not concentrating 100 percent on this fight at UFC 137.”
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC