UFC 118 Results: What's Next For B.J. Penn?
Less than five months ago, B.J, Penn was sitting near the top of the pound for pound rankings pondering wheteher or not he would move up to welterweight to take another shot a Georges St. Pierre.
Then, Penn's hopes of being the first fighter to holds two UFC belts simultaneously came crashing down with a controversial loss to Frankie Edgar at UFC 112. To the delight of Penn and his fans, an immediate rematch was scheduled to put the debate to rest.
Many thought that a much better version of Penn would show up at the rematch and regain his title with authority. The bookmakers even saw Penn as a heavy favorite heading into the fight.
In reality, we saw an even better Edgar completely dominate one of the best lightweights of all time, if not the best.
So, what now after one of the legends of the sport was beaten in such a definite and deflating fashion? Retirement? A move to welterweight? Let's take a look the five most likely options for Penn.
Penn has already contemplated retirement in the past. Prior to his last fight with St. Pierre, Penn told those close to him that he would retire if he beat the welterweight champion.
As it went, Penn lost to St. Pierre and returned to lightweight to reign over the division. With his reign now over, at least for now, does Penn have anything left to prove?
Who could blame Penn for retiring? Would you rather get punched in the head or sit on the beach in Hawaii for the rest of your life?
Still, Penn has something left in the tank at 31-years-old. This scenario seems to be the least likely of Penn's options.
The UFC has been searching for an opponent to test George Sotiropoulos and see if he is deserving of a title shot. Well, few will test a fighter like Penn can.
However, this scenario doesn't seem extremely likely either because Penn will probably want a higher profile opponent. If a loss to Edgar was damaging, a loss to Sotiropoulos would have people calling for Penn's retirement.
A fight against Florian, who also suffered a deflating loss at UFC 118, could serve as a measuring stick for Penn to see if he has lost a step since their last meeting.
In order to ensure one fighter a return to success, Joe Silva often pairs fighters who are both coming off of losses. This fight could determine which fighter might still be able to make a run at the title.
Before his fight with Edgar, Penn stated that he would be interested in fighting at welterweight again. If the loss to Edgar didn't change Penn's mind, a rubber match with Matt Hughes seems like the most likely possible match-up for Penn's return to welterweight.
In a world where money seems to mean everything, this fight would draw a large audience.
After all, this is what the UFC signed Gomi for isn't it? Takanori Gomi said he wanted a rematch against Penn and the fans agreed, so the UFC went out and signed Gomi. Penn defeated Gomi nearly seven years ago with a rear naked choke in the third round.
Now, Gomi is coming off of an impressive knockout of Tyson Griffin that should earn him a fight with a top lightweight. Ideally, this fight would have been for the title, but the chances of that happening now are slim and none. There isn't going to be a better time to have this fight.