Freddie Roach, “B.J. Penn is by far the best striker in MMA”

The panel was discussing the upcoming super fight between B.J. Penn and Georges St. Pierre on Fox News’ Fight Game with host Mike Straka this week. Their special guest for the show was Yahoo MMA writer, Kevin Iole.

Iole states that in a recent conversation he had with Freddie Roach, the legendary boxing trainer shared with him he believes B.J. Penn has the best striking in MMA. And by striking the assumption is he means boxing.

“I talked to Freddie Roach about B.J. last week and he told me by far…he said by far B.J. Penn is the best striker he’s ever seen among MMA fighters and he thinks that if B.J. can get into a striking match with GSP, he would definitely win that.”

If you think about the fact that Freddie Roach has worked with MMA fighters who are known for their striking like Andrei Arlovski and Anderson Silva, then his assessment of B.J. Penn is even more fascinating.

Penn’s boxing prowess has rarely, if ever, been more on display than it was in his last fight when he took on the former UFC lightweight champion, Sean Sherk. Penn’s reach and use of the jab kept the highly-skilled wrestler from being able to get inside to shoot or use his own striking effectively.

Of course GSP is a completely different animal than Sherk and Penn will not have that same reach advantage. Still, Penn must work that jab which is a skill that is so effective and yet so underappreciated in MMA. Also, Penn is going to have to stay busy on his feet with feints, combinations, kicks, and really has to mix it up if he is going to stay competitive with the Welterweight Champ.

Just as Freddie Roach iterated, if B.J. can goad GSP into a boxing match, B.J. will have the advantage not only with the more technical punches but with his power. However, GSP is so well-rounded, rarely do we see him depend entirely on one skill set such as boxing to defeat his opponent.

These two fighters match up so well it would be futile to try and decisively pick one over the other as a clear favorite. These two fighters are legitimate mma super stars for a reason and it is because on any give night either one of them can defeat anyone in the world.

-Jack Bratcher

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