Franca Discusses Penn’s Preparation

By Gleidson Venga Jan 19, 2008
Hermes Franca (Pictures) spent the last three weeks in Hawaii helping B.J. Penn (Pictures) prepare to face Joe Stevenson at UFC 80 on Saturday.

"B.J. called me in December, inviting me," Franca told Sherdog.com. "For sure I accepted. His attitude was very professional."

Two days after Penn called, Franca got a message from Stevenson, who also invited the Brazilian to his camp.

"I called [Stevenson] explaining why I couldn't help him," Franca said. "Joe is very professional and got my point."

Franca said his training with Penn was very specific, with a clear focus on the fight.

"I was welcome there," he said. "The team has a positive attitude. B.J. Penn (Pictures) has a lot of experience. He has fought in several organizations, against great fighters. I think this experience counts a lot, and this is his advantage."

However, the lightweight title fight makes Franca anxious. He won't risk a bet.

"B.J. is very focused and well trained," he said, "but for sure Stevenson will make a run. Let the better one win."

Now back in Jupiter, Fla., where he lives, Franca has new priorities while he awaits his return to fighting after being suspended for steroid use following a fight in California on July 7.

"Now I'm emphasizing my training and giving seminars," he said. "In July I will be back. I still don't know if it will be in the UFC, but I'm full of gas."
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