Well, the much anticipated BJ Penn and Nick Diaz bout that is headlining UFC 137 this weekend is a pick em bout at the sportsbooks. And after seeing the Thursday press conferences and trying to get a gauge on the mindset of both athletes, I’m still not sure about how this fight is going to go! Both are so intense mentally, and both seem a little worn down on this end by the onslaught of media attention this bout has gotten.
Diaz did a remarkably frank interview with Emil Melwani of MMAFIGHTING.COM. Diaz seemed more vulnerable than usual, and it is my impression that the taxing mental pressures of the last few weeks have taken their toll on his mind. He seems weary.
Now, if there is ever a guy who can turn it on come fight night it is Diaz. But at the pre fight press conference, there is another factor that showed itself. No, him and Penn are not best friends, or anything like that, but they have rolled and know each other pretty well. He knows Penn is good, and may be missing the ability for the first time to really get pissed off at his opponent.
BJ too. BJ knows Diaz is good. Several times during the pre fight presser, reporters tried to bait the fighters. At one point, Diaz, who does triathalon’s in his spare time stated no one trains harder than him. Penn only confirmed that he knows Diaz trains very hard. No one was going to start the bravado and trash talk on this one.
So on the eve of the fight I have a new hope for this fight. I’m hoping it is epic, and that both guys see the opportunity they have. Thry know they are in a tough fight, they know the opponent is good. Due to the circumstances around the fight, plus the pulling out of GSP bumping this to a main event, it is safe to say neither is really comfortable with the hype that has been following them around.
Both guys seemed subdued at the press conference, but this could lead to a great fight. Because when you have two guys that are fighters are heart, at this point both guys just really seem like they want to get it over with.