Sean Sherk defeated by B.J. Penn--should the Muscle Shark drop down to 145?

Minnesota native and former UFC champion

Sean Sherk



in a dominating performance by "The Prodigy" B.J. Penn last night.

Sherk looked tentative all fight and surprisingly seemed content to keep it on the feet even though he has never been known for his striking and had a significant reach disadvantage to Penn, who was able to jab from a distance. Although Sherk's strategy was to try to drag the fight into the championship fourth and fifth rounds to put Penn's cardio to the test, the Prodigy stopped him at the end of the third with a devestating knee followed by strong ground and pound that left Sherk unable to continue.

Immediately after the fight, Penn suggested he might go up a weight class to take on welterweight champion George St. Pierre, scheduled to headline UFC 87 in Minnesota. This, combined with the promos for the WEC featherweight championship fight on June 1, got me thinking that Sherk should seriously consider dropping down to 145.

Sherk always looked short for a welterweight, but last night he even looked short for a lightweight. At 5' 6", Sherk was giving up 3 inches to Penn, as well as significant reach. And it's unlikely that the situation will get any better--UFC 87 features a lightweight No. 1 contender match between Kenny Florian (5' 10") and Roger Huerta (5' 9").

Although Sherk can't do anything about his short stature, he could cut 10 pounds and drop down to featherweight where he's more likely to face opponents of his height. The upcoming featherweight titlefight in WEC feature Urijah Faber (5' 6") vs. Jens Pulver (5' 7").

Sherk isn't known as the Muscleshark for nothing--he's huge for a 5' 6" guy, and I can't imagine he'd have too much trouble shedding 10 pounds. In the past, Sherk had to fight at welterweight (where he was towered over by opponents) because there was no lightweight division, let alone a featherweight division in an up-and-coming organization like WEC. Now that the WEC is offering a serious alternative for smaller fighters, it would seem to be a no-brainer for Sherk to drop down to take on the winner of Faber vs. Pulver.

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