Penn facing toughest challenge in Sanchez

A quick scan of current UFC champions and the first words that come to mind are dominance and uniqueness.

Each UFC champion has their own special advantages and they use them effectively, which is why they are champions of their divisions.

For UFC lightweight champion, B.J. Penn, you have one of the most explosive, dynamic and flexible lightweight fighters ever. Though his move to 170lbs has brought mixed results, there is no doubt he is the king at 155lbs.

Penn has had no trouble fighting lightweights. His recent tenure has seen him defeat the likes of Joe Stevenson (to win the vacant title), Sean Sherk (in a title unification bout of sorts), and Kenny Florian (who many considered the guy with the best shot at beating Penn in the division).

So who is there to challenge Penn for lightweight supremacy? Well coming from a division above is a challenge in the form of a “Nightmare.”

Diego “The Nightmare” Sanchez will have just his third fight as a lightweight, since his move down from welterweight, and it will be for the title. Some don't think he's earned that opportunity but there really isn't anyone else that can challenge Penn like Sanchez.

On the cusp of a title shot you have the likes of Gray Maynard, Frankie Edgar and Tyson Griffin, but it appears all have already agreed to other fights, and we can't have the champ sit in limbo too long, especially with the layoffs that have been forced upon George St. Pierre, Brock Lesnar and Anderson Silva.

What Sanchez brings to the table is pace, aggression and a well rounded game. You can look at any Sanchez fight and you see nonstop action start to finish. Not to mention his last fight against Clay Guida that earned him this title shot was probably fight of the year thus far.

In Penn, you know what you're getting, and that's a big problem if you're one of his opponents. Penn is virtually unbeatable at 155lbs, and in fact hasn't really been tested. Sure, Florian pushed him to some of the later rounds but at no point during that fight was Penn in any danger of being finished, or even losing a round. What this does though is bring two thoughts for Penn heading into his UFC 107 bout with Sanchez in: What B.J. Penn will actually show up?

We know Penn comes to dominate, he's a gamer and has a deep set of skills, but he's also been known to be a little lazy at times in his training, coming in soft and not on the top of his game. With the pace that Sanchez brings Penn simply can't afford to do that. While many view a five round fight as a marathon, Sanchez typically views it as a sprint for all five rounds, and that could spell disaster for an underprepared Penn.

It's expected by many that Penn will emerge from Memphis as the defending champion, but if that's not the case, you can look back again at the conditioning and preparation of Penn, because there's no reason a guy with his talent who has been around the block to lose the most important fight of his career.