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

15 thoughts on “Freddie Roach, “B.J. Penn is by far the best striker in MMA””
  1. oh come on, the best striker in mma? you’d think “the best striker in mma” would have _MORE_THAN_ONE_KO_IN_THE_LAST_SIX_YEARS!

    what about all the champion kick boxers and boxers that have transitioned to mma? bj penn is a better striker than melvin manhoef?

    with some twisted logic you could stretch it to the best striker in north american mma…and even then that is pushing it…anderson silva anyone?

    anderson has knocked out everyone in the ufc he’s been put up against except dan henderson, 13 t/ko’s in the last 6 years! not to mention rich franklin has 6 ko’s since he’s been in the ufc.

  2. You gotta remember Freddie Roach probably really hasn’t seen a ton of MMA so who knows but that’s still pretty a impressive thing to say. I’m sure he meant the best technical boxer.

  3. promma,

    You’re right, he probably hasn’t sat and watched too much mma as he’s too busy training mma fighters. andrei and anderson silva come to mind….probably more but the names escape me.

  4. Many of the most dangerous strikers in MMA (such as Chuck Liddell, Hermes Franca, and Fedor Emelianenko in their respective primes) would probably not be considered spectacular by a boxer’s standards. The difference in equipment (smaller gloves) and fighting strategy means that handstrikes in MMA don’t match up directly with good boxing strategy.

    For example, I’ve seen a number of top fighters use spinning backfists to some degree of success in MMA. I’ve never seen a boxer even attempt one.

    Another example: a ducking boxer is not as vulnerable as a ducking MMA fighter, since boxers can’t strike with their shins or elbows.

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