Morning Matchmaker: B.J. Penn is gone, but what’s next for Frankie Edgar?

Frankie Edgar (left) and B.J. Penn shake hands following their fight at the TUF Finale on Sunday night.

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

B.J. Penn announced his retirement after the TUF 19 Finale on Sunday night following a third-round TKO loss to Frankie Edgar. He’ll go down in the annals of MMA as one of the most talented, accomplished fighters to ever grace the Octagon.

We know what’s coming for Penn, but how about the man who beat him? And what’s in store for the TUF winners? It’s all below.


Frankie Edgar about to drop some ground and pound on B.J. Penn.

It’s hard to pinpoint whether Edgar looked really good Sunday night or B.J. Penn was just shot. Maybe a little of both. Edgar’s dominant, third-round TKO of Penn will probably stand as one of his most iconic victories. Quietly, the former lightweight champion has put together quite the impressive career.

Who’s next: Clay Guida-Dennis Bermudez winner

The one thing hanging over Edgar’s head is that he has already fought featherweight champion Jose Aldo and has many physical disadvantages against him. That doesn’t mean he won’t get a rematch at some point, but probably still not soon. Guida and Bermudez meet on FOX at the end of this month. The winner will put himself in the conversation at 145, but should have to go through Edgar for a title shot.


B.J. Penn steps into the Octagon for the final time.

That wasn’t the way anyone wanted to see Penn go out. But he was a warrior until the very end and should be commended. Penn said after the third-round TKO loss to Frankie Edgar that he would have had regrets if he didn’t give it one more try in the Octagon. And the two-division UFC champion more than earned that right.

Who’s next: Retirement

Penn will go down as one of the sport’s all-time greats. He might have held on a little too long, but isn’t that the case for many legends? Penn, 35, won titles at lightweight and welterweight, one of only two men in UFC history to be champion in two different weight classes. The Hawaiian looked fit at featherweight last week and one has to wonder what would have happened if he made that cut earlier.


Dustin Ortiz celebrates his win over Justin Scoggins.

Underrated is a good word for Ortiz. But the Roufusport product has a hard time winning fights decisively. His last three fights were all split decisions, including Sunday’s victory over Justin Scoggins. Ortiz’s wrestling and grappling acumen, though, is good enough to beat all but the very elite at flyweight.

Who’s next: Chris Cariaso

There are precious few interesting contenders at 125, mostly because Demetrious Johnson has dispatched them. So Ortiz should get a push up the rankings relatively quickly. At 25, he’s probably only scratched the surface of his game and he’s certainly someone to watch out for. Scoggins, 22, is a top-notch prospect, but Ortiz nullified him. Some had the bout going for Scoggins, but it was very close.


Corey Anderson kicks back with his TUF tropy at the post-fight press conference.

It’s been said before, but Anderson could be one of the best prospects to come out of The Ultimate Fighter in years — and TUF alum T.J. Dillashaw just won the UFC bantamweight title. Anderson’s wrestling is fantastic and he showed Sunday against Matt Van Buren that he has some pretty darn good, fast hands, too.

Who’s next: Fabio Maldonado

The UFC’s light heavyweight division needs some fresh faces. Anderson, 24, is pretty polished and he’s exceptionally athletic. His first-round TKO of Van Buren was devastating. Maldonado is coming off a loss to Stipe Miocic, but before that had won three in a row at light heavyweight. Anderson has a chance to shoot up the rankings — 205 is pretty thin at the bottom — and beating Maldonado would help.


Eddie Gordon knocks out Dhiego Lima in vicious fashion.

Gordon is yet another stud to come out of Serra-Longo on Long Island. The former Fordham University football player squashed favorite Dhiego Lima with a vicious onslaught of punches in the first round, to punch his ticket at the TUF 19 middleweight winner. Gordon’s athleticism is absolutely off the charts.

Who’s next: Sean Strickland

Gordon, 30, is considerably older than Anderson and has a smaller window for success. He’s still a relative novice in MMA, coming from a football background. Maybe he’s not a prospect in the true sense of the word, but he has potential. So does Strickland, who is coming off a win over Luke Barnatt. The winner of Gordon-Strickland would be ready for bigger and better things in the 185-pound division.