We caught up with our former UFC welterweight and lightweight champion BJ Penn as he had a couple days off from training in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the JacksonWink MMA Academy.
Penn, who recently announced his decision to come out of retirement to shake up the UFC featherweight division has sought out the help of famed MMA coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn and spoke with us at BJPENN.COM on how training is going.
“It’s been going great,” Penn said in an exclusive interview. “There are a lot of great people in the room. MMA has changed so much, it’s just great to be around all the people. Like anything you have to immerse yourself you know, in what you’re doing.”
For the critics of Penn who have at times said that he held back his own potential due to a lack of training, it sounds like Greg Jackson has been keeping “The Prodigy” on a timely schedule. “I’ve been training three times a day. Greg gave me these two days off, so yeah that is the kind of schedule Greg got me on right now.”
When asked if there were any surprises for Penn going into a new camp environment, the UFC Hall of Fame legend said that nothing has caught him too off guard.
“Everybody is cool. Greg Jackson is an awesome guy to be around. I’ve realized after all these years, he’s crazier than I am,” Penn laughed. “But, what a master in mixed martial arts. He’s really good at what he does and it’s great hanging out, talking story with him. He has got a lot of words of wisdom. And, Mike Winklejohn, he’s just the kind of guy that likes to get to work and he has a lot of fun in what he is doing. That’s for sure. It’s good to be up here”
Penn may have found something that may have been lost along his career with all his natural talent and abilities, and is feeding off learning new things from his new fight camp.
“As soon as I got here, Greg Jackson gave me a bunch of private lessons, showing me all these different moves to add to your game. Winklejohn same thing, giving me private lessons here and there, giving me some private work and attention. It’s fun coming out you know, my mind is getting into it. Through the day, I’m trying to think how am I getting hit so much here, or how come this isn’t working, you know? It’s constantly in my mind, so I like that.”
Penn is expected to fight on March 5 at UFC 196. With no opponent named yet, fans of “The Prodigy” are anxiously awaiting to hear what comes next.