The big question heading into Ultimate Fight Night 20 was whether or not Gray Maynard would secure a title fight with Lightweight Champion B.J. Penn, or would Nate Diaz steal his thunder allowing Frankie Edgar to take Maynard's spot.
Josh Gross of CNNSI tweeted prior to tonight's fight that Edgar could get the title shot regardless of the outcome, and many thought Maynard needed to finish Diaz in impressive fashion to seal the deal.
With tonight's fight in the books, the question looms larger then ever, who gets B.J. Penn next: Gray Maynard or Frankie Edgar?
How about neither.
Maynard got the victory over Diaz, but an ugly split decision win isn't exactly the kind of momentum needed when trying to secure a title fight. Beyond that, it was hard to tell if Maynard was following a well formulated game plan or simply swinging for the fences.
Maynard ultimately got the better of Diaz, but was it enough to motivate UFC matchmaker Joe Silva to book "Penn vs. Maynard" over "Penn vs. Edgar."
Edgar has a nice three fight win streaking going for himself. His last three victims include Hermes Franca, Sean Sherk, and most recently Matt Veach. The only thing holding Edgar back, his lone UFC loss came courtesy of Gray Maynard.
When push comes to shove, Maynard probably deserves the nod over Edgar. Despite that, does anyone think that "Penn vs. Maynard should really happen at this point.*
Remember what happened when Anderson Silva fought Patrick Cote and Thales Leites?
Hell, remember what happened when B.J. Penn fought Diego Sanchez.
Do we really need to see any more title fights with a challenger who isn't anywhere near ready to face the champion?
While it's unlikely to happen, Penn should pull an "Anderson Silva" by announcing that Maynard and Edgar should rematch to determine a true number one contender.
Remember when Silva did just that in regard Dan Henderson and Nate Marquardt?
In the meantime, Penn can pull another "Anderson Silva" and move up in weight class to test himself at 170 pounds while someone resembling a number one contender is determined.*
If a Maynard-Edgar rematch doesn't thrill you, how about scratching the rumored** Kenny Florian-Takanori Gomi fight and letting Maynard and Edgar duke it out with those two respectively.
Regardless of what happens, as of now, there is no lightweight contender that has enough juice to justify a title fight with B.J. Penn.