After Kenny Florian’s stoppage of Joe “Daddy” Stevenson at UFC 91 he made a bold statement.
“B.J., I consider you a master, now it’s time to kill that master,” said Florian.
At UFC 101 Kenny got his chance, but the master proved too much for the aspiring student.
With Penn back at lightweight defending his title, fans got to see the classic Baby J they were accustomed to. With a fourth round submission of Florian, Penn sent a sound message to not only Kenny but all fighting at 155.
That message is this: the master has returned to rule this land once again.
Penn is such a great fighter that he is constantly seeking challenge. That search led him to stray from focusing on his title and thirst for even higher glory. His search led him right into a welterweight bout with none other than Georges St. Pierre.
Much like Florian, Penn did not get what he was looking for in that cage. In a fight that saw nothing go his way Penn’s corner had to stop the match in between rounds.
It was a devastating loss and historic victory, depending on which side of the equation one was on.
Georges showed the world and Penn alike that had also become a master in his own right, and not one to be trifled with. This fight answered quite a few questions, and raised some new ones which will not be discussed here. Suffice to say, one of the lessons learned was that B.J. needed to refocus his attention back at lightweight, back at his belt.
Refocus he has.
It showed Saturday night in Philadelphia. Penn was calm in the face of a relentless Florian. It seemed as if Florian had intentions on wearing the champ down by pressing him and controlling him against the cage. Penn weathered a lot of what Kenny had for him, and in then end wound up doing quite a bit of damage of his own.
In a poetic fight ending sequence, Penn got the fight down, advanced his position until gaining Kenny’s back. From there he submitted KenFlo by rear naked choke. To watch a wizard of jiu-jitsu work his game at its highest level against a warrior such as Florian was a rewarding treat.
The student laid down his challenge, the master stepped up to the challenge and smashed him decisively. The entire class was watching, too.
Diego “The Nightmare” Sanchez was probably watching the closest. More than likely he will be the next to challenge Penn. Seeing what happened to Kenny must have been highly motivating for anyone who may have to fight the reigning champion.
Diego has earned his chance to prove that his fight will be the one to stop Penn. He has proven that as a student he is worthy to challenge the master. Will he prove worthy enough to finally best him at lightweight? Anyone that has seen Diego fight understands where he got his nickname. A ruthless fighter with fire in his eyes, Sanchez is scary for anyone.
Even with as scary a fighter as Diego can be, Penn is not one to employ the trickery of fear. He will not allow a man to intimidate him.
One thing is certain, with the return of the master, class has been called back into session. When B.J. pursued his personal war with GSP he turned his back on his division. For greater glory he left the top spot on the ladder empty. Stifling the advancement of the entire division.
This vacant status left the entire school to sort itself out in all areas. The students have been restless, and in his absence many have emerged stronger than when he left. Now that he has announced his return with authority, the master has their attention. Now he has the daunting task of getting them all back in line or he may risk losing his status.
The students have been waiting, and they are ready to advance. We the villagers are eager to watch it unfold. The master lives and is ready to destroy all who challenge his position, his title, his legacy.
The time has come in the lightweight division, to start sorting out who the challengers are and where that belt belongs. Something tells me it’s not going anywhere, other than right where it is, for a long time.