In case you didn’t hear, “The Prodigy” B.J. Penn is coming out of retirement…again.

On Wednesday’s edition of UFC Tonight, it was announced that the next coaches for The Ultimate Fighter reality show will be Penn and Frankie Edgar. Following the season, the two will face off for the third time, this time at 145 pounds.

There are many different questionable factors to look at here, but let’s start with the fight itself.

Bottom line: this match-up makes zero sense. Edgar dethroned the champion in April 2010 in a fight that was closely contested. They then rematched four months later, with “The Answer” outlasting Penn in a lopsided contest. So…is a third fight really necessary?

The answer is no for both fighters.

What else does Penn have to prove? He is way past his prime of being the former lightweight and welterweight champion and being regarded as one of best fighters in the world years ago. In the report, UFC President Dana White said that Penn has signed a new deal with the UFC, more than likely meaning there will be multiple fights for Penn before he officially retires. It’s difficult to predict which Penn we will see in April, though. He seems really motivated for this return fight, but that’s how it always goes. Then, when it’s fight time, his cardio checks out.

Another concerning thing with Penn is that this fight is at featherweight. The 34-year-old has never fought at 145 pounds, so it will likely be a difficult cut for him. Penn last fought at welterweight and did not perform well, going 1-2-1 in that run. We all know Penn was far superior as a lightweight, but will dropping 10 extra pounds take a toll on him? Only time will tell.

The match-up really doesn’t look good on paper for Penn. In their second fight at UFC 118, Edgar used his speed and movement to outpoint Penn for the decision victory. Edgar has now fought twice at 145 pounds and appears even quicker than before. Edgar will wear down Penn if the fight goes longer than a round. Edgar at his normal weight compared to Penn at a new weight? Advantage goes to “The Answer.”

Let’s look at this in terms of what it means for Edgar now.

Since losing to champion Jose Aldo, Edgar defeated Charles Oliveira by unanimous decision to keep himself in the title mix. You can make a case for one more win earning him a title shot, but does a win over a fighter who is coming off back-to-back losses and debuting at a new weight class significantly help your stock rise? I’ll let you decide that for yourself.

If things would have worked out in plan A, this would be a different story for Edgar. According to reports, the original scenario had Edgar coaching against Urijah Faber. However, the two sides could not come to an agreement on the contracted weight, and therefore the scheme changed. If Edgar fought and defeated a guy like Faber, it would carry much more weight than a win over Penn. Now, the Boston native must go through an entire season of filming the show, wait until April to fight, then finally, maybe, get a title shot in the late summer or early fall of 2014.

Even though there are many negative aspects to this decision, there is still reason to be excited. It’s hard not to get excited about Penn returning to the Octagon, even though it may not be necessary. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see some of the old Penn come out that we haven’t seen since he knocked out Matt Hughes in 21 seconds.

We’ve seen Penn coach on The Ultimate Fighter’s fifth season, so we know what to expect from him. Edgar, on the other hand, will try something new. My hunch is that he will do very well as a coach. He is very well-liked by the fans, is familiar with the reality show’s style, and is very knowledgeable in his craft of mixed martial arts. I’m not sure how the anticipation and trash talk will be between the two men, though. It’s not going to be the Penn who barked at Jens Pulver in season five, but he’ll probably have some beef considering they know each other very well.

In terms of how well the season will do in terms of ratings, it’s a guessing game. It probably won’t be on the level of the current season featuring Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate, but it could focus on the actual fighting aspect more, instead of the drama. Edgar is a guy that new fans know very well, and Penn provides an individual that longtime fight fans remember watched years ago.

There may be question marks surrounding this news, but the season itself should produce good television. It’s another long process of filming, but in April, Penn and Edgar will have a chance to show everyone that completing the trilogy was a smart decision. It may not seem like it now, but it’s hard to ever doubt these two.

Photo: Frankie Edgar (L) throws a kick against B.J. Penn (Heavy MMA)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.

  • Richard

    The fight makes no sense. I am a Penn fan from his first run in the UFC and his shocking upset of Hughes but that Penn does not exist anymore. I don’t want to see the Penn from he last welterweight run or the Penn I flew to Boston to watch fight Edgar ever again. Penn’s losing late in his career has already muddied his legacy with fight fans – newer fans never saw when Penn was dominate and even long-time fans began to question if the sport passed him by…Penn should stay retired. As you said he has nothing left to prove and losing to Edgar at a new weight class will further erase from people’s mind his greatness