While on a media tour promoting his new book Why I Fight, former (!) UFC lightweight champ BJ Penn took 18 seconds out of his day to announce that an immediate rematch with Frankie Edgar is in the works. Nothing is set in stone yet, but the UFC wants the fight, and BJ wants the fight, and all of BJ’s fans want the fight, so there you go.
Of course, this opens up a debate about whether BJ Penn deserves a chance to reclaim his belt right away. Immediate title rematches are a tricky thing. When Machida vs. Rua II was set up directly after their first meeting, it made sense because there was a general uproar about the decision unfairly going to Lyoto, who seemingly only won because leg kicks don’t count. But what can you really say about Penn vs. Edgar at UFC 112, other than it was a close fight that was difficult to score (particularly for the judges)? Edgar was never put in serious danger, and he would actually be the clear winner under the Unified Rules of Stockton, in which the loser is the guy who looks more fucked up afterwards, and the winner is the guy who was kicking more ass at the end.
BJ Penn is a more popular star than Frankie Edgar, so the UFC is using the "close fight" angle to try and get one of their golden boys back on his throne, rather than sending in Gray Maynard as Edgar’s first belt defense. (Admittedly, Edgar vs. Maynard sounds like pay-per-view poison.) Do you accept this as just part of the fight business, or should BJ have to knock off another contender first to prove that he’s still the same old killer, and his passionless performance last Saturday really was due to illness?