Rivals B.J. Penn and Frankie Edgar will have their trilogy fight at the Ultimate Fighter Season 19 finale in July. The July 6 event is part of an enormous UFC International Fight Week in Las Vegas that will also feature UFC 175 the night before. Penn will be hoping that the third time will be the charm as he looks to avenge two prior losses against “The Answer.”
The intriguing twist to this particular clash is that after serving as head coaches for TUF 19, the pair will square off in a featherweight contest. “The Prodigy” has already achieved legendary status with the promotion as being one of only two fighters to win titles in multiple divisions. He’s regarded as one of the greatest lightweight champions of all time and also captured the welterweight title in his prime.
However, the 35-year old Penn’s best days are seemingly behind him. His last appearance was back in December of 2012 at UFC on FOX 5 when he dropped a lopsided decision against Rory MacDonald. He’s just 1-4-1 in his last six fights. The bout against Edgar will mark Penn’s first-ever UFC fight at the 145-pound weight limit, and will mark his second coaching stint on TUF.
Edgar made the move down to the featherweight ranks after losing his lightweight title and a subsequent rematch to Benson Henderson. He had a previous title shot at 145-pound champion Jose Aldo, losing a unanimous decision at UFC 156. Edgar was victorious in his last fight, snapping a three-fight skid by defeating Charles Oliveira in an entertaining battle at UFC 162.
Edgar owns the bragging rights in the rivalry with Penn, having defeated him in a huge upset at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi to claim the 155-pound crown. Edgar would follow that up with an even more dominant performance at UFC 118 where he badly outstruck the former champion in earning a lopsided decision victory.
UFC officials are obviously hoping that the renewal of this rivalry will lead to better ratings next season for TUF, which will feature middleweight and light heavyweight hopefuls. While Edgar remains highly ranked at no. 2 in the featherweight division, most of the interest heading into the season will revolve around how Penn will be able to perform after making the dramatic weight cut.
Penn-Edgar 3 is an intriguing proposition as one former champion seeks revenge while another looks to stay relevant in the featherweight title picture. It should be a solid way to wrap up what will be a very busy weekend for the organization.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports