UFC 127: B.J. Penn Gains Confidence Training With Matt Hughes

B.J. Penn and Matt Hughes

Matt Hughes and B.J. Penn at UFC 123 Weigh-Ins

B.J. Penn says Matt Hughes was the best training partner to prepare for Jon Fitch.

Penn and Hughes have fought three times. Their rivalry dates back to 2004 when Penn went up to the welterweight division and defeated Hughes at UFC 46 to capture the welterweight title.

In November, Penn knocked Hughes out at UFC 123 to end their trilogy, but when it came to preparing for his UFC 127 showdown with Fitch, Penn knew who to call.

“I was talking to Matt’s boxing trainer, Matt Pena, and we were talking back-and-forth. He was kind of talking to me about Fitch and what he likes Fitch to do. I guess he’s kind of studied Fitch over the years,” said Penn. “After a while I said, you know what, just give me Matt’s number. I think it would be a good idea to have Matt (Hughes) come down and train with me.”

“I texted Matt a few times, and I didn’t know what kind of response I was going to get. He texted later and Matt ended up saying, you know what, I’m in,” explained Penn.

“I had a great time training with Matt. It really upped my confidence,” said the former UFC lightweight and welterweight titleholder.

“I definitely think that was the best training partner I could have had for this fight,” added Penn. “I know he isn’t exactly like Fitch as far as height as far as boxing and kickboxing goes, but on the one area that Fitch always pushes his opponents, grinding them out and pushing them against the fence and taking them down, Matt really pushed me in those areas.”

“I gained a lot of confidence working out with Matt.”

UFC 127 takes place at Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia on Feb. 26. The welterweight showdown between Jon Fitch and B.J. Penn headline the UFC’s second trip to Australia.

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