The UFC pulled a bit of a surprise on Wednesday when it announced that former champions B.J. Penn and Frankie Edgar had been chosen to coach on Season 19 of its reality series, 'The Ultimate Fighter,' that will begin airing in January. Ariel Helwani broke the news Wednesday during "UFC Tonight."
Penn and Edgar will then fight in April at a venue and date to be announced. They've already met twice, both times in 2010, with Edgar defeating Penn to win the lightweight title at UFC 110 in Abu Dhabi, and then retaining it in a rematch at UFC 118 in Boston.
"B.J. Penn is moving down to 145 pounds to coach The Ultimate Fighter against Frankie Edgar,” UFC President Dana White said in a statement. “B.J. really hates the fact that he lost to Frankie Edgar. It’s something that’s been burning deep inside of him for three years now. So he’s moving down to 145 pounds to not only avenge those defeats, but to try and become the first fighter in UFC history to win titles in three different weight classes."
Penn has held the lightweight and welterweight belts in the UFC, but has struggled in recent years. He is 0-2-1 in his last three and was badly beaten in his last two outings, by Nick Diaz and Rory MacDonald in fights at welterweight.
Early in his career, Penn infuriated White by talking of jumping up to multiple classes to fight for titles. Penn has already fought at heavyweight, and once he meets Edgar in the coaches' fight after the season ends, he'll have fought at featherweight, lightweight and welterweight in the UFC.
Edgar defeated Charles Oliveira at UFC 162 to snap a three-fight losing streak, all of which came in title fights. He lost back-to-back bouts to Benson Henderson in lightweight title bouts and then dropped to featherweight, where he was beaten by Jose Aldo.
Edgar is 16-4-1, including a 10-4-1 mark in the UFC.
Filming will begin sometime in mid-October.