B.J. Penn had no plans to fight Nick Diaz inside the Octagon anytime soon, if ever. However, after several problems arose in trying to put together Saturday’s UFC 137 card, the two former training partners were paired up and will face off across from each other in just a few short hours.
Penn, who originally was scheduled to meet Carlos Condit, has remained a follower of Diaz for quite some time. In fact, he sees quite a bit of himself in Diaz.
“I’ve kept a close eye on Nick Diaz’ career. He’s one of my favorite fighters that I love to watch out there and I think right now, he’s probably the best boxer in mixed martial arts today,” said Penn, in a recent conference call with media. “He spars with Andre Ward, he was signed to fight Jeff Lacy, he was considered to fight Roy Jones Jr., and with accolades like that and with the performances that he puts on in the right, with a high volume of punches and all those things, I definitely think that he’s probably the best boxer in the sport today.”
Penn has held the UFC title before, while Diaz was the Strikeforce champion when he signed with the company. The two have stepped inside the cage countless times against some of the best fighters in the world.
“We’re similar in a lot of the same ways. With the boxing, with the jiu-jitsu and with the way our careers have gone,” Penn said. “Once in a while we end up clashing with the powers that be, and it just ends up going that way for some reason. There are a lot of similarities between me and that guy (Diaz).”
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC