Frankie Edgar has earned an insurmountable task of trying to pry the lightweight belt out of B.J. Penn’s hands on April 10th at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi.
Since winning the vacated lightweight title against Joe Stevenson back at UFC 80, Penn has defended his championship three times in impressive fashion against the best contenders the division had to offer: Sean Sherk, Kenny Florian, and most recently Diego Sanchez.
Edgar, a 28-year old New Jersey native, knows exactly what to except from such a high caliber opponent like Penn. He recently told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show” that he completely accepts “The Prodigy” as one of the great pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.
“In my eyes he’s one of if not the most skilled fighter in the UFC,” Edgar proclaimed. “He could do it all. He’s probably one of the most well-rounded. From standup to the ground, his takedown defense is second to none. His flexibility, balance, all that stuff, makes him a tough nut to crack. I’m going to have my hands full for sure.”
Despite being a celebrated black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Penn has proven to be a proficient boxer, usually out-striking his opponents whenever the fight stays standing-up.
Edgar believes Penn is allowed to dictate where the fight goes because of his well-roundness and extraordinary take-down defense, a byproduct of his incredible balance.
“I think it’s just his balance, his athleticism and his flexibility I think those three things make him just a b—- to take down,” said Edgar. “A lot of guys try to sit on his leg and it ends up bad for them because they end up eating some heavy shots.”
Edgar, no slouch in the division, has also defeated top-notch competition at 155lbs—Jim Miller, Tyson Griffin, Spencer Fisher, and Sean Sherk — but admits none of his past opponents come close to encompassing all the dangers Penn brings to the octagon.
After giving the list a second thought, Edgar agreed Jim Miller was the closest fighter to mimicking Penn’s skill set.
“I would say that would probably be the closest because of his wrestling ability, his striking and his submission and how offensive he is submission-wise,” Edgar mused. “It’s nice that I get to train with him now so it worked out for me.”
UFC 112, in the Middle East city of Abu Dhabi, is the first outdoor event the company has ever put together.
Edgar plans on preparing for the elements by arriving in the U.A.E over a week ahead of his scheduled fight. He also offered up a unique prediction for the biggest fight in his career.
“It’s going to be in the desert,” said Edgar, who plans to arriving ten days early. “It’s going to be hot, so we’ll probably be sweating a lot. I predict a lot of sweat. How about that?”