When the UFC came calling and asked Frankie Edgar to face BJ Penn for a third time, it didn’t make much sense in terms of matchmaking. Edgar had already bested Penn on two occasions with the second victory far more dominant than the first.
Still, Penn’s legendary status carries a lot of weight and when he asked for the bout, the UFC complied and Edgar being the company man that he is accepted while also coaching for the first time on The Ultimate Fighter.
Edgar proved on Sunday night that there was no need for a third fight after a one-sided performance to put away Penn and close the door on their rivalry.
The former lightweight champion put on a brilliant performance beating Penn to the punch on every exchange, and then tossing him to the ground with takedowns over and over again in every round. Penn had virtually no answer, unable to keep Edgar locked in his guard and just eating punches and elbows on the mat.
By the time the third round started, Penn’s legs looked wobbly and Edgar was still moving around the Octagon with the same speed as he had in the opening moments of the fight.
Following a takedown to put Penn down yet again, Edgar had no intentions of letting him up as he just rained down shots from the top, eventually opening a nasty gash over the Hawaiian’s left eye. As the blood started to flow more freely, Edgar continued his assault and as Penn’s head just bounced up and down taking shot after shot, referee Herb Dean saw enough and put a stop to the fight.
The loss marked only the second time in Penn’s historic career that he’s been finished by strikes, and with this performance it’s hard to imagine a return to the Octagon for the legendary former welterweight and lightweight champion.
"I want to fight for the title or a fight to get me to the title," Edgar said after the win.
Edgar likely will get his wish after putting away Penn and now looks up at champion Jose Aldo and any other contender hoping to get a crack at the title.
As for Penn, it appeared the nearly three rounds he spent with Edgar all over him was enough to convince the legend that it was time to call it a career.
"I shouldn’t have come back," Penn said. "Dana said it was over and I’ve got to agree with him."
If this really is the end for Penn, he exits with a Hall of Fame career spanning more than 13 years in the Octagon, two titles in two weight classes, and a status as one of the most respected and popular fighters to ever compete in the UFC.