Frankie Edgar anticipated the result of the Gray Maynard-Nate Diaz fight at Ultimate Fight Night 20. Maynard, the only person to defeat Edgar, earned a split decision victory over Diaz and more importantly, appeared to be the next in line to face BJ Penn for the lightweight strap.
Instead, “The Answer” got the nod from UFC President Dana White and Edgar, not Maynard, will face Penn at UFC 112, tentatively scheduled for April 10 in Abu Dhabi.
“I’m super excited,” Edgar told The Ground & Pound Radio. “I’m going to have my work cut out for me.”
Rumblings of Edgar’s title shot began following his near-flawless victory over former lightweight champion Sean Sherk at UFC 98. It helped cap off an impressive resume which includes wins over Hermes Franca, Tyson Griffin and Spencer Fisher.
Those victories, combined with Maynard’s less-than-impressive decision, help earn him the bout with Penn, despite losing to Maynard at UFN 13.
“I’m glad I got my shot,” Edgar said. “I’m looking forward to seizing the opportunity.”
In Penn, Edgar will certainly face his stiffest test in his 12-fight career. Penn has steamrolled opponents since moving back down to the lightweight division. He is coming off a complete and utter destruction of Diego Sanchez — the man experts projected to be the sternest test of his stellar career.
Penn is 12-1-1 and hasn’t seen one of his fights at 155 go to a decision since his draw with Caol Uno at UFC 41.
“BJ looked great,” Edgar said. “His timing is unmatched. Diego had a game-plan and got rocked and it was tough to go back to the game plan.”
To prepare for BJ, Edgar doesn’t plan on changing too much. He plans on visiting Phil Nurse and begin working with him.
The one area where Edgar plans on focusing extra attention is his jiu-jitsu game. Penn’s jiu-jitsu is widely regarded as world class, and Edgar plans to continue working with Renzo Gracie and Ricardo Almeida to help get ready for the biggest fight of his life.
“I’m working hard all the time (with Almeida),” Edgar said. “Renzo is training now. He’s getting ready for his fight. I can’t get a better situation to get better at jiu-jitsu.”
Recently, Edgar signed with the same representation as welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, though he said he hasn’t had a chance to sit down with St. Pierre to ask if he could get some tips on how to fight Penn.
“I know he comes into the city and trains with Renzo,” Edgar said. “If we cross paths, then I’ll pick his brain a little bit.”
To listen to the entire Ground and Pound with Hector Castro and Ryan Loco, visit http://tinyurl.com/gnpradio1.
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