Penn credits disparaging tweets for peak form

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Penn (16-8-2 MMA, 12-7-2 UFC), who returns to the cage after retiring 13 months ago, has MacDonald (13-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) to thank for his transformation from unmotivated couch potato to elite athlete.

The former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion, whose legacy has in part been defined by such changeovers, said he planned to “get into shape a little” and give it his best effort against MacDonald, who’s widely been characterized as a future champion at 170 pounds.

But when the 23-year-old training partner of welterweight champ and former nemesis Georges St-Pierre made some disparaging tweets about his physique, Penn’s mindset changed.

“That really lit a fire under my butt,” he said.

Penn rose from the couch and hired the trainer that guided him to standout performances against Jens Pulver, Joe Stevenson and Sean Sherk.

“We took my belly off,” he said. “I think the best thing for me was the fight getting postponed.”

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