Since returning to the UFC as a lightweight for season five of the Ultimate Fighter, B.J. Penn has been as close to perfect in the lightweight division as he possibly could be. Penn has fought five times, won five times, and finished all five opponents.
While he has lost a match during that stretch of time — losing to Georges St. Pierre in a welterweight fight in Jan. 2009 — it’s hard to imagine who can beat Penn at 155. Frankie Edgar gets the next opportunity at the lightweight championship at this weekend’s UFC 112 in the promotion’s maiden voyage to Abu Dhabi.
On paper, Edgar is a longshot; Penn is around a 7-to-1 favorite according to most sports books. Though he’s constructed a strong 6-1 record in the UFC (and 11-1 overall), Edgar is a smallish lightweight who cuts very little to make the 155-pound limit. He is not a hammer-fisted puncher, doesn’t share nearly the submission pedigree as Penn, and isn’t big-match tested. So does he have a realistic chance to win?