UFC 112 left a sour taste in the mouth of many fans, a feeling one would assume shared with former UFC lightweight champion BJ Penn having lost his title to heavy underdog Frankie Edgar.
Penn was regarded by many as one of the Top Five pound-for-pound fighters in MMA and had dominated the lightweight division for years, appearing "invincible."
This air of invincibility however was shattered as Edgar, with superior conditioning and speed was able to outwork his opponent, notably in the latter rounds, and take a unanimous decision.
Although not as strongly contested as past decisions, notably Machida vs Rua, there was more than a minority of fans who felt BJ Penn counter-punched his way to victory and in order to win a title the victory must be more conclusive.
When scoring the fight it is widely accepted than Penn won the first two rounds and Edgar the last two, with the third round being the main cause for the difference in opinions between fans who believe Penn won and those who believe Edgar was a deserved winner. Considering this, it comes as a surprise that one judge scored the fight 50-45 in favour of Edgar.
Bearing in mind the closeness of the fight and BJ Penns' previous domination at 155 lbs. a rematch may seem the most sensible of possible ways in which the lightweight division can now go. However some may dispute this fact.
It wouldn't be unreasonable to suggest there are more interesting, exciting ways the lightweight division can go before giving BJ a chance to exorcise his demons and reassert himself as the greatest lightweight of all time.
One of the most likely future matchups is Edgar vs Maynard. Gray Maynard is at the top of the pile of lightweights waiting for his chance and many had expected him to get a crack at BJ before Edgar, this prior to his uninspiring split decision victory over Nate Diaz. The two have met before, with Maynard winning by unanimous decision and in doing so providing Edgar with the only loss of his career.
It may therefore seem unfair, considering his previous victory to suggest a rematch shouldn't happen just yet.
Personally I would rather see Florian get the first go at the belt. With two title fights before Florian has failed on both occasions. This however doesn't ruin his credentials as one of the best in the division with these being his only loses at lightweight in eleven outings, finishing his opponent in all but one of his victories.
Since losing to BJ at UFC 102 has continued to show his worth with wins over Guida and Gomi. This would be Florian's third attempt to claim the title, would it be a case of three times a bridesmaid never the bride?
Were Florian to fight Edgar, BJ Penn and Maynard should square off. With six decisions in his last six fights a fight with Penn would give him a great opportunity to really prove himself and gain some momentum following a couple of lack luster victories, whilst giving BJ time to stew before potentially reclaiming the title and stepping back into the lime light. The winner of this fight should then fight the winner of Florian vs Edgar.
Also in the picture for potential big fights are Tyson Griffin, George Sotiropoulos and Jim Miller, however I think for now the big four lightweights need to sort out the pecking order at the top of the division.
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