To compete in the UFC, you need to have a deep inward belief, even if it sometimes seems as though you are the only one left who carries it. And to have been a world champion in the UFC, that self-belief is amplified. You simply do not reach such a level of success without a high degree of confidence. And as long as you continue to compete, that confidence must be there. This would explain why BJ Penn is still fighting even while being on a six-fight losing streak and 40 years of age, self-belief and a goal that he still believes is attainable: once again being a champion.
“I stopped thinking about legacy years ago,” BJ Penn told reporters during UFC 237 Media Day. “I fight because I know I will be back. I know I will be back onto the top again. I fight because of what I believe. I believe in myself. I believe in what I will do. That’s why I’m still here fighting today.
“Of course I love fighting and this and that, but it would be crazy for me to sit here and think, OK, I’m gonna go and get my ass kicked again. No, I believe in myself. We’re gonna go out and we’re gonna go get the belt back.”
There you have it. BJ Penn is not fighting to collect a few final paychecks or to prove something to anyone. He, as would be expected of any fighter on the active UFC roster, is fighting with the hopes of becoming a champion. BJ Penn has done it before…in two separate divisions. And regardless of how many others believe he can do it, BJ Penn believes he can do it again.
That journey begins this Saturday at UFC 237 when Penn takes on Clay Guida in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
What do you make of BJ Penn’s self-belief?