If there was any question as to who BJ Penn was likely to face on April 10 at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi, then Gray Maynard probably gave us "The Answer" during his main event against Nick Diaz at UFC Fight Night 20 in Fairfax.
"The Bully" was one fight away from emerging as the clear-cut number one contender; however, his performance against Diaz left a lot to be desired as the former TUF stars hacked and slashed their way to a sloppy split-decision that ultimately favored Maynard.
And the former All American out of Michigan State wasn't exactly calling for Penn's head after the victory.
Perhaps it has something to do with their history as training partners, or maybe he realizes he needs a bit more polish before challenging for the title. Whatever the case may be, the UFC brass will probably concur.
In the wake of "Maynard vs. Diaz," Frankie Edgar has now emerged as the division's front runner for the next crack at the Hawaiian's 155-pound strap.
The New Jersey native has been nearly perfect since his UFC debut in February 2007. In addition to key victories over Jim Miller, Tyson Griffin and Spencer Fisher, "The Answer" put his hands on display with a win over Sean Sherk at UFC 98 last May.
His only blip during that span was a high-altitude unanimous decision loss to Maynard himself, when the two wrestling standouts huffed and puffed their way to the judges scorecards at UFC Fight Night 13.
Edgar quickly bounced back and won three straight, including a submission win (rear naked choke) over the dangerous Matt Veach at last month's Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 10 Finale.
Now it appears as though he's reached the mountaintop -- but as the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for.
You just might get it.
The reigning 155-pound champion has looked nearly invincible since returning to the lightweight division in June 2007. In fact, "The Prodigy" has violently finished all five of his opponents in his weight class, including a submission win (rear naked choke) over Kenny Florian at UFC 101 in August 2009.
For dessert he had two scoops of Diego Sanchez's face at UFC 107 last December.
If Edgar is indeed the chosen one, then he may be all that stands between BJ Penn and his return to the land of the welterweights. UFC President Dana White has ordered his former nemesis to "clean out the division" before making another change in weight.
A highlight reel finish over Edgar could potentially seal the deal.
UFC 112 will mark the promotion's debut in Abu Dhabi and is expected to feature a welterweight brawl between Matt Hughes and Renzo Gracie. Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more information on this still-developing fight card.