It didn’t take long for the Twitter wars and challenges to heat up once Dana White offered fighters a Twitter bonus. B.J. Penn is the latest fighter attempting to win the bonus. Penn has called out a fellow Cesar Gracie pupil in what could be one of the most intriguing fights of 2011.
[adinserter block=”1″]B.J. Penn used his Twitter account to issue a formal fight challenge to Jake Shields. The former MMA champions have tweeted back and forth about a potential UFC fight over the last couple of days. It really is interesting to watch the number of fighters who issued challenges and talked trash to one another following Dana White’s announcement of Twitter bonuses. Penn and Shields are now in the mix.
It all started with what appeared to be a rather random tweet from Penn on May 16.
@jakeshieldsajj I would never challenge one of Cesar Gracie’s guys, but you’ve been calling me out for years.Let’s do it! I’ll contact Dana – @BJPennDotCom
Shields was bombarded at that point with tweets and questions about the challenge. The former Elite XC champion eventually responded to Penn’s challenge with a simple answer to a retweet.
I’m a BJ fan but let’s get it on. Make the call RT @artoom23: Hell yeah! @bjpenndotcom just called out @jakeshieldsajj ! Let’s go!!!!!!!!! – @jakeshieldsajj
Shields didn’t stop there. Shields took it up a notch a few hours later on Twitter. Shields is not only interested in the fight, but wants to make it a five rounder.
@bjpenndotcom even better, let’s make it the first 5 round non-title fight – @jakeshieldsajj
Penn wasn’t impressed and quick to respond to the five round non-title fight challenge from Shields.
@jakeshieldsajj If that makes you feel more confident….. sure. – @BJPennDotCom
So there you have it. It didn’t take Joe Silva, Dana White, or even Executive Iceman Chuck Liddell to put an elite UFC welterweight fight together. Twitter did the job. I skimmed Dana White’s Twitter account and as of this writing, he hasn’t responded to Penn’s challenge. My hunch is that he will have something to say soon enough.
I am really surprised at Penn’s challenge. Penn trains with Shields’ team often, especially the Diaz brothers so the challenge seems a little out of left field. On the other hand it is great business by Penn. Not only does he capitalize on the UFC’s recent Twitter incentive, but he puts Shields on the spot. Additionally, Penn strikes while the iron is hot on Shields. On a side note, it looks like Penn is sticking around in the welterweight division.
Shields’ desire for a five-round fight with Penn tells me that Shields watched Penn’s last few fights pretty closely. As great as Penn has been throughout his career, Penn’s age and years in MMA have shown in his last few fights. Penn appeared to tire out against Frankie Edgar after the third round and greatly slowed down against Fitch in Round 3. I think it is ridiculous to hear the continued criticism that Penn would have been finished if the fight went two more rounds. It was a three round fight and it is impossible to make that jump given that Penn trained and game planned for three rounds. Shields apparently begs to differ.
[adinserter block=”1″]Penn vs. Jon Fitch 2 was scheduled for UFC 132 but scrapped after Fitch pulled out due to injury. Penn has been making waves about wanting to fight at UFC 134 in Rio. My guess is that with the UFC 134 card pretty much in place, the UFC wouldn’t overload it with a Penn vs. Shields fight. Although it would be a nice addition to a weak UFC 133: Evans vs. Davis Philadelphia card.
The fight makes sense if Fitch is unable to go for awhile. I would imagine that Shields will probably want a lengthy break following the intense training for the Georges St- Pierre fight so the timeline may not work out. Either way it is definitely an interesting fight and one that I am sure a lot of MMA purists would flock to see.
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