Between Dan Hardy Vs. Georges St. Pierre, Quinton Jackson Vs. Rashad Evans and the perpetual malice shared between Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar, the UFC has its fair share of bad blood story lines to work with right now. But when it comes to the “UFC 112: Invincible” bout between lightweight champion BJ Penn and challenger Frankie Edgar, there is nothing but respect between the two men.
During the UFC 112 media conference call held Tuesday afternoon, Penn and Edgar expressed that respect and shed a little light on their respective game plans.
When approached about his specific fight strategy, Edgar kept it light hearted.
“BJ, mute your phone real quick,” he said, eliciting a laugh from the champ.
“There’s no secret game plan to beat BJ Penn. I just gotta be the best fighter I can be. I’ve gotta make sure my boxing is good, my Muay Thai is good, my wrestling is good and my Jiu jitsu is good. I’ve gotta be the best I can be when I fight April 10th.”
“The Answer” spoke about his training camp for this fight and what he’s doing and whose help he’s enlisting to achieve the level of preparedness needed to defeat BJ Penn.
“BJ’s not someone you can really… emulate, he’s definitely one of a kind,” said Edgar. “You know, I’ve just been trying to get all my skills as sharp as possible. I’ve brought in Ricardo Almeida as my training partner, I started training with Phil Nurse a little bit, [I brought in] Eddie Alvarez.”
As for his source of motivation, Edgar maintains that it comes from respect for Penn’s legacy and his ability as a fighter.
“For me, [fighting BJ Penn is] an honor,” said the New Jersey native. “You know, it’s really forced me to bring out the best in my training and everything and I feel like I’ve improved a lot because I have to prepare for someone of BJ’s stature. Because he’s so highly touted it’s really forced me to focus and really come with my A game.”
The champion seems to be employing a similar philosophy against Edgar; he knows that his opponent possesses no glaring weaknesses so he is preparing himself in every area of the game.
“He’s fast, he’s a great wrestler, he’s got good, sharp boxing, he’s got some great kicks. I’m sure he’s gonna try and kick me a lot when we fight,” said “The Prodigy”.
Few are giving Edgar a real chance at taking Penn’s title but the Hilo kid is quick to give him his props, saying, “I’ve always been impressed with [Frankie].”
Edgar himself says that he understands the lopsided odds.
“Nah man, it’s earned,” responded Edgar when asked if he felt slighted by the extra attention given to the champ. “He’s earned the position that he’s at. You know, if I want that position I’m gonna have to earn it myself.”
Edgar was asked if he thought his role as an underdog might allow him to fly under the radar, giving him a greater chance to score the upset.
“Hopefully,” he answered. “I’m not going into this fight to lose, I’m going in there to try to win it. It’s a tough task, it’s BJ Penn.”
BJ Penn may face his stiffest test yet as UFC lightweight champion when he takes on Frankie Edgar and Edgar is most certainly dealing with the biggest challenge of his career in attempting to dethrone “The Prodigy”. No matter the outcome, the fans are promised a fast-paced and technical display of violence when these two fighters square off.
“UFC 112: Invincible” will take place on April 10th, at Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and features a double main event that will see Anderson Silva defend his middleweight belt against Demian Maia.