After back to back losses in 2012, many fans assumed that B.J. Penn was more or less unofficially retired. Last month, though, the UFC announced that not only was he returning for at least one more fight, but he would also be an Ultimate Fighter coach, paired against old rival Frankie Edgar.
Both former lightweight champions, Edgar and Penn have fought twice before, with Edgar walking away the victor both times. Edgar has previously stated that he has no problem giving a legend like Penn another shot, but he’s still very confident in his ability to put down “The Prodigy.”
“I do think I have his number,” Edgar said on UFC Tonight. “I’m going to approach this as a new challenge. I’m not thinking he’s going to come in the same as he did the last two [fights]. I expect him to come in and change a little.
“I want to show my improvement over the last three years. I think he was kind of close to retirement and I think another loss will maybe decide it for him.”
In the first two meetings between the two then-lightweights, Penn was considered the favorite in each contest. Edgar defeated Penn in a razor-close decision in Abu Dhabi at UFC 112, taking the 155-pound title as a result. The two then squared off in an immediate rematch later that year in Boston at UFC 118, where Edgar once again defeated Penn, this time with a far more convincing unanimous decision.
After the lightweight losses, Penn moved back up to welterweight where he hit a rough patch with a 1-2-1 record, while Edgar engaged in two bitter wars with Gray Maynard before losing the lightweight title to Benson Henderson.
Now the two will meet again, this time at 145 pounds after stints as coaches for the UFC’s famed reality show.
The Ultimate Fighter 19 will air on Fox Sports 1 sometime in April 2014.