BJ Penn retires from MMA

MANILA, Philippines – Frankie Edgar proved to BJ Penn once more that he is the better man as he dominated the mixed martial arts (MMA) legend en route to a third-round stoppage in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter season 19 finale on Monday morning, July 7 (PH Time) at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Both men first crossed paths in April 2010 at UFC 112, where Edgar closely outpointed Penn to capture the UFC lightweight championship.

Four months later, an immediate rematch was scheduled for UFC 118, where Edgar defeated Penn again to retain the belt.

A third encounter was booked in September of last year, along with the announcement that Edgar and Penn would be coaching opposite sides on the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) reality television show.

In a final battle between two former UFC champions, Penn had virtually nothing to offer Edgar as “The Answer” had all the right answers, pounding “The Prodigy” for two-plus rounds before finally forcing referee Herb Dean to halt the contest at the 4:16 mark of round three.

“I’ve got nothing but respect for BJ. This is a bittersweet victory. I said I wanted to finish him because he’s never been finished [by me] and I knew how tough he was, but I almost feel bad about it,” Edgar said in his post-fight interview.

The 32-year-old Edgar swiftly moved in circles around the three-year older Penn in the stand-up trade, using his rapid hands and dexterous feet.

Fighting with an upright stance, Penn was consistently hit by Edgar, who found gaps almost every time he threw a strike before getting a takedown.

Edgar continued his assault in the third frame, clobbering with a series of power blows and combinations before dragging Penn to the floor for a steady stream of elbow shots to open up a gory gash on the left eye.

With the impressive outing against Penn, Edgar improves his prizefighting record to 17-4-1 and moves one step closer to another chance at the UFC featherweight title.

“I wasn’t really worried about what BJ [was going to do]. I was only worried about what I did. I want to fight for the title or a fight to get me to the title,” Edgar said.

After suffering a third-straight disappointing setback to Edgar, Penn decides to hang up the gloves for good and finishes his professional MMA career with a win-loss-draw card of 16-10-2.

“I shouldn’t have come back. I shouldn’t have been in the ring tonight. [UFC president] Dana [White] said it was over, and I’ve got to agree with him at this point,” Penn stressed.

Prior to his third meeting with Edgar, he had not competed since dropping a lopsided unanimous decision to Rory MacDonald in December 2012.

The popular 5-foot-9 Hawaiian remains one of only two fighters in UFC history to win titles in multiple weight classes.

Penn won the welterweight strap by submitting Matt Hughes at UFC 46 in January 2004, while he added the lightweight belt to his résumé four years later with a second-round submission win over Joe Stevenson at UFC 80.

“BJ has nothing to prove. He’s won two world titles in two different weight classes. He’s one of the greatest ever, but that’s who he is. He’s got that fighting spirit, and it’s hard to watch when fights like that happen. But, sometimes you’ve got to jump in there and that has to happen for him to realize that it’s time to hang them up,” UFC boss Dana White stated during the post-fight press conference. –