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Frankie Edgar’s UFC TUF Gamble with BJ Penn

September 24, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Frankie Edgar will coach opposite B.J. Penn on The Ultimate Fighter season 19 and will be fighting him for a third time next year. The odds are in Edgar’s favor, considering he’s already beaten him twice, and they are fighting in a weight class that is uncharted water for the “The Prodigy”. The risk is minimal, the reward is great, but the damage will be severe if Edgar fails to find the answer.

MMA is a funny animal. The hardest of hardcore fans and the media vie to keep the purity of the sport intact by recognizing what a fighter has actually accomplished, but they constantly focus on what a fighter should have accomplished. Take Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos for example. Many expected Velasquez to win their first fight and Dos Santos knocked him out in ninety seconds. Many expected the sequel to go in Velasquez’s favor as well, even though he lost the first time, and he brutalized Dos Santos for twenty five minutes. They are 1-1 against each other with the rubber match in October, but Velasquez is considered the best heavyweight in the world so therefore, Dos Santos’ victory doesn’t hold up even though it’s begrudgingly mentioned because it actually happened.

Frankie Edgar won a unanimous decision over BJ Penn to win the title in a fight that a lot of people felt he lost and expected him to do so. Edgar convincingly shutout Penn in their rematch, but it didn’t erase any doubt. Penn looked lethargic which meant he was simply off his game as opposed to giving credit to Edgar for actually keeping Penn confused and uncomfortable for five rounds. In my opinion, an in shape and totally focused BJ Penn is the best fighter in the world, but I’m not going to give him a bye because he failed to show his advanced skill set on a particular evening. This has already happened once before in Penn’s favor during his series with Jens Pulver where he lost the first fight, won the second fight and that first loss no longer counts in the court of public opinion because he was supposed to destroy him the first time.

Frankie Edgar has garnered a reputation that has endeared him to fans as being the ultimate blood and guts warrior who truly looks for a way to win all the way to the final horn. That all goes away if the BJ Penn that dominated Uno, Sherk Sanchez, Florian, Stevenson, and Hughes arrives on fight night and dispatches Edgar. BJ Penn does his best work at 155 lbs., so logic says he will be in rare form at 145 lbs. He will have plenty of time to perfect his cut of ten additional pounds since season 19 starts filming on October 15th and won’t air until April which means the fight will happen in late June or early July of 2014.

In reality, a fighter deserves to lose if they simply fail to prepare or took an opponent lightly just as much as if they were fully prepared and got beat by the better man. In actuality, that is never the case, which is a shame, because hard work and meritorious achievement get lost in the back ground of the anointed elite who will always get the benefit of the doubt. Chris Weidman’s win over Anderson Silva will be expeditiously dismissed if he falls victim to the Spider on New Year’s Eve. The same thing will happen to Frankie Edgar if he gets Caol Uno’ed the third time around and everything he has accomplished after his victories over Penn will all be for not because it never should have happened in the first place. I truly hope I’m wrong about this. Besides the two fights with Machida vs. Shogun, history dictates that Edgar’s gamble may be greater than the reward.

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