BJ Penn comes from a different era and he's a different type of fighter. He's fought in almost every weight class, probably even invented a few, and made a career out of taking fights probably no one should... and winning them sometimes. This "flow with the go" mindset and prior experience is probably what puts a bad taste in Penn's mouth when fighter's mention "money fights."
“I’ll tell you this, I’m not the guy to go out there and say ‘oh give me this money fight, give me that money fight’,” Penn said to FOX Sports.
“I look at all these guys doing that and I’m like why don’t you go knock out a hundred guys and become the money fight yourself?" Penn said, "‘Oh I want to fight this money fight, this money fight’ — why don’t you make yourself the money fight? How’s about that one? Let’s just start there.”
We're in an MMA climate now where fighters try to find fights outside of their division for big bucks, whether they are a champion or not. Penn believes you can't manufacture an opportunity, you have to force that destiny through brute force and will.
#BJPenn isn't wrong either. Sure, #ConorMcGregor had a huge marketing push, but he also had 9, first or second round finishes in a row before his first ever decision win over #MaxHolloway. After that, McGregor went right back to sniping 5 dudes straight with his death-touch left, only this time they were some of the top fighters on the planet like Chad Mendes and Jose Aldo.
That's the reason McGregor could jump up in weight (perhaps foolishly at first) to fight Nate Diaz for a 'money fight'. That's why he was able to fight Eddie Alvarez and get double gold. He was following the BJ Penn blueprint.