Few fighters display their heritage as proudly as BJ Penn, a Mixed Martial Artist whose name has become as synonymous with his home of Hawaii as pineapples and hula dancing. From his trademark entrance song to his weigh-in pose to his overall warrior spirit, Hilo is rarely far from his heart, one of the many reasons Penn has now returned to his familiar stomping grounds for the last leg of training before facing Nick Diaz this Saturday night at UFC 137.
Penn recently spoke about what Hawaii means to him, as well as his respect for Diaz as an opponent based some personal experiences with the former Strikeforce champion, in both instances showing he is in a good place with only a week to go before one of the biggest fights of his career.
“I came back to Hawaii for three weeks ground myself over here, mentally and emotionally. This is where I’m from. This is where my strength is. This is where my manna is. It’s been great for me,” Penn explained in his latest video blog from sponsor RVCA, later visiting some of the island’s scenic landmarks with friends and family.
The serenity of his surroundings appears to have carried over into his life, a point the surefire Hall of Fame welterweight drove home saying he was “too old to talk sh*t.” Of course, even the Penn from a few years ago would have likely bitten his tongue in terms of his current match-up.
“Nick Diaz, I’m not gonna lie – I’ve known him for a long time, I’ve seen him around…he actually came out and helped me train for the Kenny Florian fight,” Penn explained. “Him and his brother Nate (Diaz) are real good guys. They came and helped me at a time when I really needed help…and I’ve got a lot of respect for those guys.”
The 32-year old no doubt respects Diaz’s skills as well given the Stockton native’s success as of late, and, with Penn in a particularly good place both literally and figuratively, he’ll be looking to bring a victory back to Hawaii as beautiful as the sunsets so often associated with the island paradise.
You can watch the entire Penn video below:
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC