For the better part of this decade, BJ "The Prodigy" Penn has captivated the ever-growing UFC audience with intense rivalries, brutal knockouts, slick submissions, championship fights and even some blood licking. Most recently, Penn thrilled fans by successfully defending the UFC's Lightweight Championship against former champion Sean Sherk. Asylum talked with BJ about hemogloblin, legacy, training and this Saturday's rematch against Georges St. Pierre for the UFC's Welterweight Championship.
There are a lot of reasons why you would want to fight St. Pierre -- the 170 belt and revenge on the loss. What will keep you going after that? I won't know. Will it be because Kenny Florian called me out? As soon as I'm done, I beat him and then Diego Sanchez calls me out and then I beat him and then there is going to be the next guy and it is just a never-ending thing. What if I want to walk away and then all the fans say, "You owe it to us to fight again. You won the title. You owe this to us." It is just going to be crazy after I kick Georges' ass. How did you react to the decision in the first St. Pierre match? Actually, if I didn't lose that fight to Georges, I wouldn't have buckled down and become the fighter that I am today. I was just trying to squeak by. Everything happens for a reason. You have to be the champion in and out of the ring. Now I feel a lot more comfortable about that.
Bulgarians dive into icy water as they compete to catch a cross in the middle of a lake in Sofia on Epiphany Day. It is believed that the man who is the first to grab the cross, thrown into the water by an Eastern Orthodox priest, will be healthy throughout the new year.
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Twendy-One demonstrates its ability to hold delicate objects by manipulating a drinking straw between its fingers at the Department of Mechanical Engineering laboratory in Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. The sophisticated robot has been developed by the university's team, led by Dr. Shigeki Sugano, in hope of supporting people in aging societies.
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A waitress carries 12 litre-size glasses of beer in a beer tent during the Gillamoos folk festival in the southern German town of Abensberg.
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A pedestrian poses for picture in front of a large model of Eddie Murphy's head in Times Square in New York. The large model head of the actor was being used to promote his movie "Meet Dave".
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Colombian actor Diego Ramirez performs during the day of laziness in Itagui, Antioquia Department, Colombia.
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I saw on a bunch of the Web sites that you pulled out of the UFC Primetime show, is that true? There were some bumps and bruises going into the Primetime show. The biggest thing that irritated me or my camp was when they edited the conversation with my brother, JayDee. First of all, he didn't want to be camera. He is not a fighter, not a celebrity, he is just a businessman. They kept saying, "Come on man, we need this cut. We need to put this piece together." And then they go and put it together and they insinuate he is lying, that he is liar on national television ... I don't care if you portray me as the good guy or bad guy, just portray what is really going on, you know.
You famously licked blood off your gloves during the fights with Joe Stevenson and Sean Sherk. Did it taste like victory? Tastes just like it smells: metal. Like iron I guess. What does blood taste like? I don't know how it happened; you just get caught up in the moment trying to beat somebody up or kill them. I don't think that is really for the fans, just for myself. At that moment you cross over the barrier.
If you get the chance, are you going to lick St. Pierre's blood? Maybe not Georges' blood. I don't know, we'll see what happens. I have got to stop doing that.
Your dietitian is not too happy about it? (laughing) I don't know what my dietitian thinks about it actually.
Watch until 2:12 in the video for BJ Penn licking Joe Stevenson's blood.
Do you think about your legacy in fighting? I don't know what I think about it anymore. I've got two world titles. I just think about beating the best fighters. I used to be consumed with legacy, and this and that, but now I just want to fight a couple more good fights and we'll see what happens. I'm 30 now, I've been with this company for nine years, I've got a daughter, I want to have some more kids. I want to be around; I don't want to be in training camp while they are growing up.
What is your training like on an average basis? On an average basis, it is three hours in the morning. I'll wake up and drink a shake, and then I'll train. I eat every two and a half hours until I go back at night and train from six to eight. Running, sprints. A lot of stuff that is competitive with other people -- grappling, boxing, wrestling. Strength and conditioning I've done a lot, but I put that on the side. While everyone is doing strength and conditioning like doing jumps or pulling ropes, I'm competing against other people. I'm sparring, I'm grappling hard. I just push myself. I push myself to every possible physical limit I could have pushed myself for this fight, mentally and physically.
Do you have any pre-fight rituals? I think one basic one is never letting anyone touch me a couple days before the fight. People are always trying to touch you and steal your energy. A lot of people really want you to lose and want to shake your hand, "Oh, good luck." I try to not let them touch me. I don't want their energy; I don't want their bad energy.
What is going through your mind on the way to the cage? I just know how important this to all my fans and all the people of Hawaii and I don't want to let them down. I just want to make sure -- win, lose or draw -- to perform my best.