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Shinya Aoki Wouldn't Beat B.J. Penn, but Credit Joe Rogan for Trying

As UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn turned Diego Sanchez's face into a bloody mess on Saturday night at UFC 107, announcer Joe Rogan began to wonder aloud whether anyone at 155 pounds would stand a chance against the champ.

"You look at the rest of the lightweight division and you struggle to think of who's another guy to challenge B.J. Penn in the UFC," Rogan said in the second round.

In the fourth round, Rogan continued, asking, "Who the hell is this guy going to fight next?"

When Rogan's partner, Mike Goldberg, mentioned Gray Maynard and Frank Edgar, Rogan said, "They're all really tough and talented guys, but who are you excited to see? Maybe we need to steal Aoki from Japan."

Rogan was referring to Shinya Aoki, the star of the Japanese Dream promotion, and I think Rogan deserves a lot of credit for mentioning Aoki on the broadcast. Rogan's paychecks come from the UFC, and the easy thing for him to do would be to ignore non-UFC fighters like Aoki. But Rogan loves MMA of all kinds -- not just the UFC and not just American fighters -- and it's great that he uses his platform to educate American fans about fighters like Aoki, whom the majority of UFC fans have never heard of.

But while I give credit to Rogan for mentioning Aoki during a UFC broadcast, I don't think Aoki would stand much of a chance against Penn. Aoki has the most creative submissions in all of MMA, but I think Penn's overall submission game is superior. And Penn's striking is leaps and bounds ahead of Aoki's. Combine that with the fact that if the UFC signed Aoki, Aoki would have to fight in a cage instead of a ring, he'd have to give up his beloved grappling pants and he'd have to be able to defend against elbows, and I don't think Aoki woud give Penn much more of a challenge than Sanchez did.

So I don't think Aoki is the lightweight to beat Penn. But I'm glad Rogan brought it up.