Questions on Edgar vs. Penn, UFC 118 and more from the mailbag
It may be too soon to declare any fighter the best MMA lightweight ever
Despite another win over B.J. Penn, Frankie Edgar still gets no respect
What's next for Penn? Motivation may be the big factor in his future
As the calendar turns from August to September and the end of summer nears, this is as good a time as any for SI.com's MMA readers to have their say in 140 characters or less.
UFC 118 in Boston offered no shortage of topics to tweet about, the most prevalent being B.J. Penn's future and what to make of UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. If you'd like to participate next time, try me at @SI_JoshGross.
@HoopsManifesto Just read your column stating B.J. isn't the best lightweight ever. Just curious who you feel is? Thanks.
I think MMA pundits sometimes go too far in a search for the sport's historical relevance -- I know I do from time to time. Modern MMA is very young, and I'm not sure we should be assigning labels like "best lightweight ever." The division is barely 10 years old. The UFC scrapped it entirely from 2004-2006. Pride's version of the weight class was contested at 160 pounds, not 155 as outlined by Unified Rules in North America. So, at this moment, I don't believe one stands out above the rest. Any claim Penn had on the throne will certainly be usurped in the not too distant future.
@toddmorgan Do you think it's that Edgar is better or B.J. is just unmotivated? Penn looked as if he didn't care in either fight.
Edgar is better, and of course it helped that Penn isn't overly motivated. Let's finally give Frankie his due: he out-everything'd Penn over 25 minutes.
@DonovanDick Edgar looked great, but I think [Jose] Aldo smashes him. Quicker, better on the ground, and the same size.
Once again, Edgar gets no respect. Aldo is unbelievably dangerous, but that's at 145. You're underestimating Edgar's combination of speed, power and wrestling. And I don't think there's a fighter near Edgar's weight that "smashes" him right now.
@Scheer_Power Think anyone will pay to see Edgar-Maynard 2?
Probably not as a main event. It will need to be the co-feature. Still, I'm very interested to see if Edgar is capable of making the proper adjustments to handle Maynard. I'm unconvinced. The way I see this thing is that the lightweight division will churn out highly competitive fighters who each have one serious foil. Imagine it's heavyweight boxing in the 1970s, with a trio of fighters who shined in certain matchups and did the opposite in others.
@markgromo In your opinion, what should be next for B.J? LW, WW or some serious time off?
Penn should stick it out at lightweight. Fighting at 155 guarantees, at least, that he'll train to make weight, and motivation is the looming question hanging over his career at the moment. It seems to be missing these days. He's fast and dangerous, and has advantages over all but a handful of lightweights. Physically Penn can hack it, but that won't matter if he doesn't want to anymore. Maybe he finds that fire again, but most who lost it don't. Not unlike many prodigies.
@DougStacy Retirement? No. How does [Penn] overcome the first real beating a guy his size ever dished out on him?
Forget any talk of retirement. Penn may have expressed the sentiment after other losses, but my understanding is he's already back in the gym and eager to return. As far as his reaction after decisively losing to a fellow lightweight, I'm with you in that it's an interesting point. Penn could always attempt to logic away losses at 170 and above. But Edgar is a lightweight, a small one at that, and this is loss No. 7 for Penn. Anyone claiming his invincibility is blinded by their fandom. Penn isn't a special fighter anymore. Natural talent got him as far as it did, but those days are done. Can he rebound? It will take something he hasn't shown he possesses.
@abemedoff Thoughts on Dana [White]'s comments on [Kenny] Florian and big fights? I'm a fan but I have to agree, he looks like a different fighter.
I disagree with White saying Florian chokes in big fights. Against Gray Maynard, Penn and Sean Sherk, he lost because he wasn't good enough. It's that simple.
@the_brein With 3 wins in a row, is Randy Couture in line 4 title shot or a No. 1 contender shot? Publicity for his movie demands it, right?
Those three wins (just two of them at 205): Brandon Vera, Mark Coleman and Toney. So, no, Couture should not sniff a title shot. Light heavyweight is one of the deepest divisions in the UFC. Couture needs a quality win or two to get in the mix. I'd like to see him fight Rich Franklin next. The winner is back in the top 10 at 205, and is set up with another victory to get a crack at the belt.
@BostonCapeCodda I feel like this card will make the mainstream hate MMA even more. Very uneventful, definitely not indicative of what MMA is.
As SI's Chris Mannix said, it wasn't the kind of card that will do much to create MMA converts. During the event I tweeted it was the worst UFC of the year. Some wondered if I was serious, suggesting UFCs 111, 112 and 114 as alternatives. But I don't think any of those cards turned out as lackluster as UFC 118, even with a solid main event performance by Edgar. In the end, people will choose to like or dislike MMA based on their personal preferences. One event won't make a difference.
@PeteForster So what would you think the Brock [Lesnar] fight would have looked like had Toney gotten his original request?
Ugly. Really, really ugly.
@Jmeyerhead James Toney vs. Kimbo Slice in boxing anyone?
I'll pass, thanks.
@danilomoran1 With the decline of NCAA wrestling do you ever see them creating an MMA program? This could be a great money maker for them.
No way. College presidents won't sign off on an MMA program. College boxing has essentially vanished off campuses. As it is, many in the wrestling community remain unconvinced a closer public relationship between MMA and wrestling is a positive for their sport. MMA club teams are on the rise, but I can't imagine the NCAA adding the sport to its list. And moreover, colleges simply don't have the budgets to add additional programs. We could see an uptick in the number of college club programs, but that would be the extent of it.
@ehuckaby4216 Do you foresee UFC ever adding a 225 wt class?
It's not really up to the UFC, or any other promoter. While the organization would be amenable to whatever the state athletic commissions mandate, I don't see any possibility of this happening in the near future, if ever.
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