Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White confirmed the coaches for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) this evening on the set of FOX Sports 1's, "UFC Tonight:"
TUF 19, which airs on FOX Sports 1, will debut in Jan. 2014, featuring a mix of Light Heavyweight and Middleweight mixed martial arts (MMA) hopefuls, who will compete in an elimination-style format for a pair of "six-figure" contracts. Edgar and Penn, who have already competed twice before inside the Octagon in the Lightweight division, will then do battle for a third time three months later in April.
The original plan was to pit Edgar against Urijah Faber; however, the pair could not come to terms on a weight -- Edgar didn't want to go down, Faber didn't want to go up and White didn't like a "catchweight."
Enter "The Prodigy," who not too long ago White wanted to retire from the sport. Penn was sniffing around for a comeback fight against recently dethroned champion Ben Henderson, telling White that he wanted to beat "Bendo" and earn another crack at "The Answer."
His timing, apparently, could not have been more ideal. He was awarded with TUF 19 coaching gig, a match against Edgar and a new contract, which indicates that the Hawaiian, 34, does not appear to be one and done, even though he has just one victory in his past six appearances.
Penn's fall from grace actually began with Edgar, who beat him in back-to-back bouts to claim, and then retain, the Lightweight title at UFC 112 and UFC 118 back in 2010. Penn rebounded with a Welterweight win over Matt Hughes at UFC 123, only to get worked over in his next three bouts against Jon Fitch (draw), Nick Diaz (decision) and Rory MacDonald (decision).
Edgar, meanwhile, experience a similar situation against Henderson, dropping consecutive world title fights before cutting 10 pounds to challenge Featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC 156 earlier this year. The New Jersey native would come up short once again before snapping the uncharacteristic skid with a dominant decision win over Charles Oliveira at UFC 162 in July 2013.
This will mark the second TUF coaching position for Penn, who returned to the organization as a coach opposite Jens Pulver back in 2007, and the first for Edgar.