It should come as no surprise then, to learn that B.J. Penn is doing everything in his power to rectify the two losses he previously suffered at the hands of Frankie Edgar, his upcoming coaching cohort on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19.
The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight and welterweight champion is looking to become the first-ever ruler of three separate weight classes. In order to do so correctly and to the best of his abilities, Penn has enlisted Nova Uniao’s leader Andre Pederneiras, who promoted Penn to jiu-jitsu black belt back in 1998.
Pederneiras coaches 11 UFC fighters, most notably two champions who come in the form of Jose Aldo (featherweight) and Renan Barao (interim bantamweight). Here's what the Brazilian coach told MMA Fighting about being called upon to train the former champ, beginning with TUF 19.
"It was a honor to receive this invitation (to be a coach on Team Penn). B.J. and his brother are really close. He is really excited and motivated with his fight against Edgar. It's going to be a great opportunity for me to show my work as a coach to the audience outside of Brazil, which is not used to see my work closely. We've studied Edgar's game a lot for Aldo's fight, so I believe there's no better place and [the] sparrings better for B.J. to come back in great fashion and motivated."
Pederneiras -- who is bringing Aldo and Barao in to assist -- is recognized as one of the strongest coaches in mixed martial arts (MMA) today and if Penn truly leaves the comfy confines of his Hawaiian gym to train in Rio with "Junior" and the rest of the Nova Uniao team, it will prove he's truly taking the fight seriously.
TUF 19 will begin airing in April of next year. The exact date and location of the coaches' trilogy fight are yet to be determined.
In an interview on UFC Tonight, promotion president Dana White indicated the initial plan was to have Edgar coach against Urijah Faber. As it turns out, Edgar didn't want to come down to bantamweight and Faber didn't want to go up to featherweight.
White is not a fan of catchweight fights.
It will, however, be interesting to see what happens if "The Prodigy" is indeed successful at his new home of 145 pounds, as it may put him on a potential collision course with "Junior" in the latter part of 2014.