BJ Penn said the only reason why he wanted to come back to the Octagon is Frankie Edgar. He’ll have that wish granted on July 6.
Return From Exile
Penn went into a self-exile after a lopsided unanimous decision loss to Rory MacDonald in 2012. Penn had lost three straight matches and has won just once in his last six fights. But his back to back losses to Frankie Edgar in 2010 have been, in the words of UFC President Dana White, “burning deep inside him for three years now.” Sometime in 2013, Penn decided that he wanted to back to the UFC for one reason: He “begged” White for the opportunity to fight Frankie Edgar again and told him that “this was all he wanted.”
White obliged and Penn may get more.
Fighting in the Finale
The UFC gave Penn the opportunity to coach opposite Edgar in the 19th season of The Ultimate Fighter reality TV show which started last April 19. As with previous seasons of the TUF, the coaches will fight each other in the season Finale. In their case, Penn and Edgar will fight for the third time on July 6 in a televised event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas Nevada one day after the UFC 175 pay per view event, also in Las Vegas.
Edgar has beaten Penn twice, taking the BJ’s UFC Lightweight title in April 2010 and defeating him in a rematch four months later. But both fights were fought at 155 lbs. This one will be in the featherweight division, and Penn will be fighting in this weight class for the first time in his career.
More Than A Grudge Match
But UFC President Dana White said that this fight isn’t just about vengeance or closure. It could have title implications. In a statement released in 2013, White said that Penn won’t only be out to avenge the defeats, but he will “have the opportunity to try and become the first fighter in UFC history to win titles in three weight classes”. Penn previously held both lightweight and welterweight titles in his prime.
Edgar too, has the opportunity to shoot back to the top of the ratings. Edgar has been 1-1 in the 145 lbs weight class, including his UFC 156 unanimous decision loss to Jose Aldo in his featherweight debut.
Aldo will be facing Chad Mendes at UFC 176 in August, and while another title contender, #3 ranked Cub Swanson won convincingly on Saturday night, there is a possibility that the winner of the Penn-Edgar 3 bout will get a title shot, especially because both men are household names in the UFC.
Penn is more than just a household name. He is a UFC legend and a hall-of-famer once he retires. Penn is only the second title to win UFC titles in two different weight classes. As a lightweight in 2008, Penn became the first UFC Undisputed Lightweight Champion after defeating Sean Shrek at UFC 84.
Penn is one of the biggest stars in UFC history, headlining at total of ten main event bouts, nine of which were on pay per view. On July 7, he will add another televised bout to his name. If he wins, he will add to the legend of “The Prodigy.”