B.J. Penn Claims Rib Injury Influenced Loss To Matt Hughes

The following is an excerpt from an interview with B.J. Penn the day after his Welterweight title challenge against Matt Hughes at UFC 63 “Hughes vs. Penn”. The interview was conducted on Sept. 24th by the official website of “The Prodigy”, BJPenn.com.

Interviewer:
So you just fought Matt Hughes. Could you walk us through the first round?

BJ:
I felt good, I was happy that I was defending Matt's takedowns. I could see that Matt improved his standup. I wish I tried some takedowns, but other than that I was happy with it.

Interviewer:
You say he improved his standup. How?

BJ:
He was dodging my punches well, and he had a good jab.

Interviewer:
What did you think of his takedowns?

BJ:
His takedowns were good and strong, exactly what I expected.

Interviewer:
Take us through the second round.

BJ:
I felt great going in, Matt started trying to take me down from my right leg, it's something I expected he might do. He got me down against the fence, but I was thinking about this position alot and I was ready. When he went for a big elbow, he missed and I capitalized and started going for his back. At this moment, when I was making the turn towards his back, I felt my ribs seperate on my right side. Although I didn't know the severity of the situation. I was thinking I have to finish him now because I knew something was wrong. Matt defended himself well and got through the round. When I got up to walk to my corner, I knew something was wrong, but I didn't want to talk about it with my corner. I wanted to be the champ. I wanted to keep fighting.

Interviewer:
What about round 3?

BJ:
I remember standing up out of the corner in pain. But I was thinking, “Earn your title this is what you have to do to get your belt back, fight through the pain”. I knew the oppurtunity I had with getting this fight, especially after losing my last fight. I wasn't going to quit on the corner. I kept going because I honestly believed it was destiny. When me and Matt were boxing I felt like I couldn't breathe and had no mobility in my core. But I kept thinking something good is going to happen. When Matt started dominating the stand up I tried for a takedown. I had nothing and pulled to guard. I felt like I couldn't do anything on the ground. But I was still positive. Matt hit me in the ribs from half guard. The pain was so excruciating I had to use my far hand to block it. I would rather Matt pass my guard and punch my face the hit my ribs. When Matt was in his favorite position that he likes. I was still thinking I was going to win somehow. Big John gave me plenty of time. I practiced defending against that position with flexibility, but I had none with my core. Even when Big John stopped the fight, I was still so positive I thought I escaped. Congratulations to Matt, he is a great fighter. It's not his fault that that happened, he fought like the champion he is. He deserved the victory.

Interviewer:
So how are your ribs doing now?

BJ:
There just hurting, I couldn't sleep last night, I couldn't lay down, Every time I breathe it expands my ribcage and aggrevates my ribs.

Interviewer:
How do you think your conditioning was for this fight?

BJ:
I was training great. I trained 5 to 6 rounds a couple times a week. I was also doing explosive cardio and getting proper rest.

To read the complete interview, visit BJPenn.com.