5 Things to Watch for at UFC 118
The UFC is debuting in Boston the way it knows how, with guns blazing. The first-ever MMA show in the state of Massachusetts is headlined by a lightweight title rematch with a challenger that’s the favorite, along with a classic MMA versus boxing grudge match. A third fight will determine the No. 1 contender at 155, while the rest of the main-card fighters look to establish secure footing in their respective divisions.
Frankie Edgar versus B.J. Penn
“No one is untouchable. If they are they just haven't run into the right guy."
Those words were spoken by former lightweight champion B.J. Penn on Thursday during a conference call promoting UFC 118. The Prodigy’s two-year reign of terror in the lightweight division was ended in April when Frankie Edgar’s wrestling ability frustrated Penn and took away his title. Penn’s work ethic has often been questioned. When he’s off, he’s brutalized by the likes of Georges St. Pierre. But if you’ve ever wondered what he’s like when he’s on, just check his track record.
"I don't know if I sit there and say, 'Well, I'm happy that Frankie's a worthy opponent.' One thing he did was wake me up and makes me realize it never stops,” Penn said. “When you hear people say, ‘You're the greatest of all time and this and that’ it's (expletive). It's not real. It's fake.”
Edgar has always been one not to believe his hype, but to dismiss it. In terms of contributions to the sport, the Answer is not on Penn’s level. Yet he’s a winner of four straight fights and defeated Tyson Griffin, Sean Sherk, Spencer Fisher and Jim Miller en route to a championship. If you ask Edgar, it makes for the perfect underdog.
"I still hold (Penn) in high regard and he's still the greatest lightweight of all-time, even if I did beat him," Edgar said. "I'm the champ, but this is another great fight and it's another new fight. This is another new challenge for me and it's just the same as it was before I won the title. I've been the underdog in my last three or four fights and I seem to perform well in this position, so I don't mind it at all. Iron sharpens iron and B.J. does that for me."
Another win over Penn and Edgar will have to get used to two new roles, one of the favorite and a legit elite fighter.