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BJ Penn and Frankie Edgar to Coach TUF 19, Then Meet in a Featherweight Bout in April 2014


(Quick, BJ! Lose ten pounds! It’s your only hope! / Photo via Getty)

Man, these Ultimate Fighter seasons are getting crazier and crazier, aren’t they? First we had Jon Jones vs. a guy who had absolutely no right to be in the Octagon with him, then we had the Ronda Rousey co-ed slumber party spectacular, and now the UFC is going to give us Frankie Edgar vs. a painfully skinny version of an old semi-retired guy he already beat twice.

Yes, folks, it’s official, and kind of bizarre: BJ Penn is coming out of his temporary hiatus to coach against Frankie Edgar on the 19th season of TUF (debut date TBA). The two former lightweight champs will face off in a featherweight bout next April. The news was confirmed on this evening’s installment of UFC Tonight. As UFC president Dana White explained, the UFC was originally thinking of putting together Frankie Edgar vs. Urijah Faber as TUF 19 coaches, but the fighters couldn’t agree on a weight class. (Edgar didn’t want to drop down to 135, Faber didn’t want to go back up to 145, and Dana White wasn’t sold on the idea of a catchweight fight.)

So then (as the story goes), BJ Penn randomly calls Dana White and says he wants to fight Benson Henderson (?), as a way to earn his way back to a redemption fight against Frankie Edgar at featherweight (??). Does that plan make tons of sense? Not really. But White was happy to take the opportunity that presented itself, and offered Penn an immediate fight against Edgar if he coached TUF. White also claimed that Penn is super fired up about fighting Edgar again, because his previous losses to Edgar feel like “a pebble in his shoe.”

First off, we’re a little skeptical about BJ’s chances of making 145 pounds. (If he goes down with a sudden injury a month out from the fight, don’t say we didn’t warn you.) But more than that, we’re talking about the third fight in a series that already seemed to be settled in the rematch, when Frankie Edgar dominated Penn at UFC 118. Will there be any interest in another go-round where Penn is at an even greater disadvantage, coming back from a 16-month layoff and fighting in a weight-class he’s never competed in before?

It’s a good publicity stunt, but I’m not buying this one as a competitive fight. What do the rest of you shmoes think? The Answer vs. The Hawaiian Skeleton — who ya got?

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