One common mixed martial arts (MMA) theme in 2016 was the constant callouts from fighters in search of "big money fights." And we have Conor McGregor to thank for that, as no fighter was called out more than the current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight king.
That’s because if a fighter can score a fight against the mouthy Irishman, he can secure a huge payday -- much like Nate Diaz did -- as he has proven to be the sport's biggest draw today. And that’s what everyone should strive to be, according to B.J. Penn, who says fighters should put the work in to get to the top so they won’t have to call for "money fights," but rather have people wanting to chase them.
"I’ll tell you this, I’m not the guy to go out there and say, ‘Oh, give me this money fight, give me that money fight,'" Penn told FOX Sports. "I look at all these guys doing that and I’m like, "Why don’t you go knock out a 100 guys and become the money fight yourself? ‘Oh I want to fight this money fight, this money fight’ — why don’t you make yourself the money fight? How’s about that one? Let’s just start there."
Then again, one can presume that beating a top draw would be a shortcut to becoming a major draw yourself. That said, "The Prodigy" is old school and prefers to see fighters work their way up to become the No. 1 target on everyones radar. Indeed, Penn himself has been the center of many callouts since announcing his return to the cage. In the end, it was Yair Rodriguez who won the Penn sweepstakes as the two are set to tango this Sunday (Jan. 15, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 103 in Phoenix, Arizona.
But, Rodriguez is adamant he didn’t ask for the fight, it was simply presented to him by UFC matchmakers and he accepted. With a win, though, over a UFC legend -- and Hall of Fame inductee -- Rodriguez will certainly inch one step closer to being the man to beat at 145 pounds.