Frankie “The Answer” Edgar proved that his UFC 112 victory over BJ Penn, in which he captured the UFC Lightweight Championship, was no fluke. Edgar simply outclassed Penn over five rounds at UFC 118 last night to make his first successful title defense and hold on to his lightweight crown.
“He absolutely dominated B.J. Penn everywhere in the Octagon tonight,” said UFC President Dana White. “On his feet, on the ground, wrestling. The first couple of times he took him down, I couldn’t believe it. And not only did he take him down, he was going down hard. He put on an incredibly dominant performance tonight against a guy who has been the best in the world for a long time.
“There were a lot of questions out there and a lot of people doubting Frankie Edgar. … You’ve got to be a complete jackass not to give Edgar credit after what he did tonight. I thought it was a masterpiece. He looked unbelievable.”
Round one set the tempo for the entire fight; Edgar implemented a varied (both in timing and technique) and relentless attack that had Penn coming up short on answers. Right away Edgar employed a similar strategy against Penn to the one he scored with at UFC 112. The Tom’s River, New Jersey native landed effectively with crisp, quick punches before moving out to avoid being countered. “The Answer” also mixed kicks and takedowns into his ever-present offense, taking “The Prodigy” down several times throughout the fight and in a manner in which Penn is rarely treated. Penn mounted some offense in the form of effective jabs, a few leg kicks, counters, and even a few takedowns of his own but it was not enough to keep Edgar from dominating the overwhelming majority of the fight.
“Frankie fought a great fight,” Penn said after the bout. “He’s the man. I have nothing bad to say.”
“I built on my confidence [from the first Penn fight],” said Edgar. “The first time I was in there, I had the confidence I could do what I needed to do, but I hadn’t done it before. After doing it and knowing I could do it going in a second time, that confidence added a lot to it.”
Gray Maynard looks to be next in line for Edgar, as he defeated fellow top contender Kenny Florian to earn the number one contender’s spot.
“I said if Gray beats Kenny, Gray gets his shot,” White stated at the post-fight press conference. “He absolutely beat Kenny.”
Maynard owns a unanimous decision win over Edgar (the only loss on the champion’s record) so it looks as though “The Answer” may once again defend his belt as the betting underdog.
“For me, it’s a great opportunity,” Edgar said. “He has a win over me. He deserves a shot, and I’ll get a chance to possibly avenge that loss.”
“He’s changed a lot,” Maynard said of Edgar. “Our fight was what, two and a half, three years ago? He has changed a great deal. He’s not the same fighter.”