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BJ Penn: Champ or Chump?

UFC Welterweight contender BJ Penn is an enigma wrapped in a riddle.

He reached the pinnacle of mixed martial arts back in 2004, winning a title in the sport's most prestigious organization. Then, only months later, Penn walked away from it all.

The 27-year-old has fought sparingly since, compiling a lackluster 2-2 record against so-so competition (sans Georges St. Pierre). But, when you listen to him, you would think that he has never lost a fight.

Is it sheer arrogance, as many suspect, including his opponent this upcoming Saturday, Matt Hughes? Is he a mental case? Or, is BJ Penn really that good?

No one really knows, which is the reason he is such a draw. He eats what he wants, trains when he wants, and fights when he wants.

The pride of Hilo, Hawaii, has the MMA world by the balls.

Penn has discussed plans to win championships in three different weight classes. If any other fighter made such an outrageous statement, he would be laughed out of a career.

But not BJ Penn, because he very well could pull it off.

Here's a snip from The Orange County Register today:

Penn has bounced around from 155 pounds, 170, 185 and back down to 155. He believes 170 pounds is his best weight. He believes he has more endurance, flexibility and speed at 170. Just three months ago he weighed 195 pounds.

Without question, BJ Penn oozes talent and potential. On any given night, BJ Penn has the raw skill to defeat anyone.

He's already proved that.

And that's the reason UFC 63: "Hughes vs. Penn" will be a huge success, even if BJ Penn doesn't make it out of round one.

Does he know something we all don't? Or, are we all just his pawns?