B.J. Penn is not just "The Prodigy," he's also an enigma.
Equal parts talented and unmotivated, the kid from Hilo has always been considered an underachiever, despite his considerable accomplishments in the sport of MMA. There are only two men who have won titles in two separate weight classes in the history of the UFC and he's one of them.
Still, his career has long been marred by a seeming unwillingness to completely dedicate himself to the game. At least that's how it's always appeared, what with Penn refusing to make his training camps anywhere else but the beautiful island of Hawaii, surrounded by family.
Fight fans clamoring to see the dominant martial artist consistently perform at his best always have the same question, one that doubles as a complaint -- why doesn't he switch up his camps and train with an elite team?
As it turns out, Baby Jay has always had a pretty damn good reason to keep himself on the lovely shores of the "Aloha State." As he tells MMAFighting.com, he never went and trained with other elite fighters because he didn't want to become their friends.
You know, because these days friends don't fight each other.
"I think teammates have to fight each other, and I knew that the whole time. That's why I would always distance myself. Of course they have to. I always thought it was B.S. that [Josh] Koscheck and [Jon] Fitch wouldn't have to fight, but they can just keep taking turns going for title shots, but they never had to fight each other? That doesn't make sense. You know why I never went to any of these places and trained? Because it's the same thing that you see with guys like Rashad Evans and Jon Jones. Now there's a big problem because of that. That's why I always kept my distance from anyone. I had a thousand chances to go train with Jon Fitch, but I knew I'm probably going to fight this guy one day, so let's be friends when we're done fighting."
Can't really argue with his logic.
Seeing Rashad Evans and Jon Jones drive a wedge within the entire gym down at Greg Jackson's MMA in New Mexico has just reaffirmed Penn's position.
It's difficult not to wonder, though; how different might the "Prodigy's" career have been had he broke his own rules and expanded his training to elite teams like AKA? How much more might he have done?
What ifs aside, do you agree with his position on teammates fighting each other? Do you think more fighters need to follow his lead and separate themselves from one another until they've done their business in the cage?