B.J. Penn and Frankie Edgar will collide for a third -- and likely final -- time following The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19, with "The Prodigy" and "The Answer" serving as coaches on the FOX Sports 1-produced mixed martial arts (MMA) "reality" television series.
Even though both are former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champions, the trilogy match will reportedly take place at Featherweight, a first for the Hawaiian, who is also a former Welterweight title winner. "The Prodigy" has already enlisted several familiar faces such as interim Bantamweight champion Renan Barao and his Featherweight counterpart Jose Aldo, as well as the man who awarded him his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Andre Pederneiras, to help him prepare for a potentially career-defining performance.
Earlier this evening on "UFC Tonight," Penn revealed that he actually doesn't yet know the contracted weight limit for the bout, which is expected to take place in Spring 2014, but it doesn't really matter.
His bold prediction:
"I'm very confident I can make 145 [pounds]. I still don't know exactly what weight this fight is going to be at -- me Lorenzo Fertitta] and [Dana White] have had some talks back and forth. But, 145 pounds. I know I can make it any day of the week."
Not only is Penn "going back to his roots," but he also plans on bringing in renowned Mike Dolce to help him get down to the proper weight comfortably. Clearly, a much more responsible method of cutting the pounds than the one that recently claimed the life of Leandro Souza.
And he apparently doesn't feel that the weight cut will affect his cardio, claiming that he wants the non-title fight to be five rounds much like their first two encounters at UFC 112 and UFC 118.
That's because three rounds "just wouldn't be the same."
"Three rounds, you know what, it ain't gonna be the same if I end up beating Frankie in three rounds. I want the five rounds."
Whether the extra 10 minutes plays into his favor this time around is anyone's guess at this time. Edgar is no front-runner, often needing the "championship rounds" to erase slow starts, most notably against Gray Maynard and Ben Henderson.
So what's the thinking behind another Edgar fight at this advanced stage of his career?
"I want this fight. Frankie is the man right now. In my eyes, Frankie really hasn't lost. He's had a couple close fights at 155, he had a real close fight against Aldo at 145, I want to come and make a statement. If everyone says I am the greatest of all time -- Frankie's beat me twice, what does that make him? I want to go in and erase everything one time one time. I know Frankie's going to be ready. Let's do this."
That sums it up rather well, but if that (and this) didn't sell you on his motivation, perhaps this will:
"From a competitive standpoint, he's the one thing standing in the way of people saying B.J. Penn is the greatest Lightweight. Without a doubt Frankie Edgar is standing in the way."
For that to be true, one would have to imagine Penn actually defeating Edgar in a 155-pound (not 145-pound) bout as initially billed.