B.J. Penn concedes his time at 155 pounds might be drawing to a close.
Penn will defend his lightweight crown in the co-main event at UFC 112 “Invincible” on April 10 at the Ferrari World Concert Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Should all go according to plan for the Hawaiian, his flirtation with the welterweight division could resume.
“If everything goes well, I’d definitely consider moving up to 170,” Penn said during a Tuesday teleconference. “Not that it’s 100 percent guaranteed, but I’m thinking about it. If I do move, I’m going to move slow. I’m not going to rush anything. I’d think about it as testing the waters, maybe do something like Anderson [Silva] is doing [at light heavyweight].”
Despite his plans, Penn still believes viable contenders exist at 155 pounds, pointing to Gray Maynard and two men he has already soundly defeated -- Kenny Florian and Takanori Gomi. Florian and Gomi will square off in the UFC Fight Night 21 headliner on March 31 at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C.
“There are a lot of good guys out there,” Penn said. “All have a good shot at fighting for the title one day. I don’t want to make believe they don’t exist. At the end of the day, it will be [UFC President] Dana White who gives me the phone call and tells me what’s on the agenda for the next fight.”
Edgar trained with former middleweight King of Pancrase Ricardo Almeida, striking guru Phil Nurse and reigning Bellator Fighting Championships lightweight titleholder Eddie Alvarez in advance of his first UFC title bout. The 28-year-old Toms River, N.J., native has rattled off three straight victories since his unanimous decision loss to the world-ranked Maynard two years ago.
“I know Frankie’s got quick hands and good wrestling,” Penn said. “I think he might try and kick me a lot. I don’t want to underestimate his kicks. Frankie’s a great scrambler, a great wrestler. You never know what’s going to happen. I don’t have a specific gameplan to impress anybody.”
A decorated amateur wrestler who was a national qualifier at Clarion University, Edgar owns victories against Xtreme Couture thoroughbred Tyson Griffin, AMA Fight Club standout Jim Miller and former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk. His unanimous decision victory over Sherk, which showcased his considerable boxing chops and improved stand-up attack, launched Edgar into title contention.
“Frankie Edgar’s not a guy to look past,” Penn said. “This isn’t a guy to play around with. Anyone who looks past him is going to end up with a loss on his record.”