Penn: 'The 10-9 System Doesn’t Work'

By Joe Myers Aug 25, 2010
B.J. Penn has focused on more than just his physical training as he heads into his rematch against UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar UFC 118 on Saturday at the TD Garden in Boston.

The 31-year-old Penn -- who earned 12 of his 15 wins by knockout, technical knockout or submission and has held a UFC title two times during his nine-year career -- lost a controversial unanimous decision to Edgar at UFC 112 last April in one of the year's bigger surprises. That loss made Penn change his training methods for the championship rematch on Saturday night.

"I did a lot of analyzing (following the loss to Edgar), but it wasn't analyzing the fight per se," said Penn told host Bruce Buffer on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “It’s Time” show on Tuesday. "It was about analyzing myself and my life. I'm going to give away one of my secrets because I'm so pumped for this fight, but I've started training a lot different than what I used to. Your mind, body and spirit are all one-third of your whole self. The physical side is one-third and that's not even half of the game. I used to put everything on the physical side and now I'm doing a lot with my mind and my spirit and now they're all equal. They're all one-third of the trinity and I believe that this is it.”

In recent weeks, Penn has exuded even more confidence during interviews.

“I believe I'm going to go on a run,” said the decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. “I don't want to speak too soon because I have a fight coming up Saturday, but I really think I can go out and do those things I talked about when I was a young, cocky kid a few years ago."

Along with changing up his training methods for the rematch with the 28-year-old Edgar, Penn wants to change the judging criteria for MMA and put more of an emphasis on attempts to end the fight.

"My problem with the scoring system is that you can go out and win the first round by 50 points and lose the second round by two points on a takedown or something and it's an even fight going to the third round," said Penn. "That's a joke. On another note, what good does a takedown do if I take down Demian Maia? How many points do I get if I mount on James Toney? It's just ridiculous. I don't think positions should be any points. The only things that should count as points are power punches and legitimate submission attempts. Add them up at the end of the fight and whoever has the most points or did the most damage wins. That's how it should be. That 10-9 system doesn't work."

Even with the 10-point must system in effect and judging criteria that includes striking, grappling, aggressiveness and Octagon control, many thought Penn won his first encounter with Edgar last April in Abu Dhabi. However, it was Edgar’s hand that was raised at the end of 25 minutes.

"I'm a jiu-jitsu world champion and I'm saying these things (about changes in judging criteria)," said Penn. "I don't think people should get grappling points for a takedown or mounting someone or getting their back. Who cares if I mount someone or have their back for four minutes if he gets out or I didn't do anything to him?

“It's the Ultimate Fighting Championship, not the Ultimate Grappling Championship,” continued Penn. “What happens when people fight? Someone gets hurt. You have fights now where nobody gets hurt and it's like what the hell are we watching? And these coaches, because there's money involved, convince these fighters to compete this way and it's crazy. That's another reason why I'm so pumped to get in there. I just want to show everybody what a fight looks like."

Penn is one of just two fighters -- Randy Couture is the other -- to win a UFC title in two weight classes and armed with a positive attitude, he hopes to stay busy after the Edgar fight.

"I know I've contemplated retirement a lot in my career, but I want to fight every month now, if I can," said Penn. "I'll fight everyone from the No. 1 contender at 155 to the No. 10 contender at 155. If they run out of contenders at 155, I'll fight anybody in the welterweight division. If I could fight six times a year for the next three years, that would be 18 fights. God willing I can do that, then let's do that. If I can do more, let me do more."
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