Why scour the internet looking for the best MMA content when you can just let me do some of the heavy lifting? I can't possibly include everything of substance I happen to find while perusing the vast expanses of the interwebs, but this should serve as a good jumping off point to get you in the know.
Edgar landed 155-of-283 strikes (55 percent) while Penn connected on only 53-of-154 (34 percent). That's right, Edgar landed more strikes than Penn attempted. Edgar helped his total percentage by connecting on 91 percent of his ground strikes (60-of-66) and 78 percent of his leg strikes (29-of-37).
Penn showed no urgency in this fight, and that's very alarming. The desire of Edgar is what really took him over the top. It's clear being a UFC champion is of the utmost importance to Edgar. Edgar has the heart of a champion. After Saturday's performance (and many others), it's clear now more than ever Penn doesn't.
With his unanimous decision win against Kenny Florian, Maynard has likely earned his shot at Edgar's championship.
I think it's time for people to start giving Maynard credit where credit is due. Maynard dominated a two-time title contender in Florian like few others have. In fact, this is Florian's first loss in a non-title fight since his UFC debut at "The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale" back in April 2005 - and that was at 185 pounds. It says something about Maynard that he was able to do to Florian what fighters like Roger Huerta, Joe Stevenson and Takanori Gomi weren't and that's beat him.
UFC 112 wasn't a fluke nor was it the result of a poor decision by the judges. Frankie Edgar proved that he is a better fighter than BJ Penn, twice. It's a lot to ingest at this point in the night and you may cling onto the brim of a toilet and regurgitate it later tonight, but Frankie Edgar is the best lightweight in MMA. We all just need to accept this fact as part of our lives.
In every aspect of tonight's title fight, Frankie Edgar outclassed BJ Penn. Nullifying takedowns, countering punches, even submission defense. It's as if you discovered the tooth fairy was just a means for your parents to put dollar bills under your pillow while you slept. I'm pretty sure BJ Penn could slap my mother and I would still be on the BJ Penn bandwagon. This will never change. However, Frankie Edgar is an unstoppable force at 155lbs.
Jonathan Snowden is saying that Frankie Edgar's consecutive five round wins over B.J. Penn prove that B.J. Penn isn't all that and never was.
That's a typical MMA fan approach -- throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The baby here is Frankie Edgar's phenomenal win over B.J. Penn. I'm not going to take anything away from B.J. He's still got good punching, strong take down defense and incredible jiu jitsu. He even showed some of that against Edgar.
But what matters is what Edgar showed:
* Great gameplanning and the discipline to stick to it
Edgar realized that he had a serious speed advantage over B.J. and he used it brilliantly, coming in and out with a variety of punches and kicks to a variety of targets.
* A complete game
Not only did Edgar dominate the kickboxing range, he used his wrestling well to get take downs early and often and not only made no mistakes on the ground, managing to escape some very dangerous positions with mad scrambling skills.
Edgar and the judges at UFC 112 may have been the only ones who thought he won the first fight, but he came into 118 confident and loose. He used that in-cage comfort to dominate B.J. from bell to bell, immediately shooting in for a take down when Penn came out chasing him around the cage.
With a three-round unanimous decision over Kenny Florian, Gray Maynard (10-0) guaranteed himself a shot at the UFC lightweight title. As it happens, Maynard, who relies on his strength and wrestling to stifle the opposition -- not that there's anything wrong with that -- is the only man with a win over Edgar. And he could very well do it again.
Maynard has won his last seven on points, and apparently sees no reason to do anything other than force his opponents to their back, where he's assured victory.
Edgar, one of the smallest lightweights in MMA, may look like a world beater against Penn, but the rematch with Maynard will offer a tremendous test.
Penn punched Edgar with rights while looking to pass Edgar's guard; meanwhile, Edgar worked to get to his feet. Penn quickly took Edgar's back, a dangerous spot as Penn has finished five of his fights via rear naked choke. In an instant, though, Edgar created a scramble and ended up on top in Penn's guard. With Penn's last hope extinguished, it was on to the final bell, on to Maynard, on to the respect he's deserved all along.
"The kid's got a heart as big as this room," White said. "He comes from wrestling, but his boxing is unbelievable, his jiu-jitsu was great tonight, his wrestling was sick. He picked BJ up and power slammed him. I guarantee you BJ Penn is banged up right now."
Edgar, of course, had little more to say. The work stood for itself.
"I think every fighter should fight with a chip on their shoulder," Edgar said. "I believe in myself. I know my team believes in me. If it takes time to get you guys to believe in me, I'll do that, too.
"I definitely wanted to make it decisive so there were no questions," he continued. "You guys ask me questions, that maybe the first fight didn't go my way. No one can say anything now."
Settled then, by Edgar himself, the belt around his waist can no longer be considered a fluke or a judges' mistake. Maybe he didn't get the solo spotlight a champion deserves at UFC 118, but at least in routing the best lightweight in history, "The Answer" can be questioned no more.
Maynard is the fighter with an undefeated record, currently standing at 10-0, but it's Edgar that is the current lightweight kingpin. With two consecutive victories over B.J. Penn, the New Jersey native appears to be the invincible one.
Maynard respects him, but he's not buying.
"He did a great job. He's the champ. That's a nice belt to have, but I want that belt," said the Xtreme Couture product. "Everybody is beatable."
As much as Maynard wants the title shot, Edgar is as keen on the rematch as well.
"He has a win over me. So he deserves the shot. Obviously I would like a chance to possibly avenge that loss," said the champ.
About the only questioning of the match-up came from the media, asking if the bout was marketable?
"What does this kid got to do to get the respect?" asked a flustered Dana White. "(Edgar) just dominated B.J. Penn. Dominated him! (Gray) just beat Kenny Florian.
"The fight's gonna do just fine."