12 seconds; that's all it took for Frankie Edgar to take his opponent down.
BJ Penn, long vaunted for his amazing take down defense, found himself taken down multiple times in his rematch for the UFC light weight championship. Not only did Edgar manage multiple (5) take downs, but absolutely destroyed Penn on the feet.
I remember the first time I saw Micheal Johnson run. Initially, I was unimpressed at Johnson leading the pack. Then I took a look at the landscape flying past, providing a way to measure exactly how fast Johnson was moving. This is a rough equivalent to what happened last night.
Edgar is fast, but it wasn't until I had BJ Penn as a measuring stone that I realized how fast. Edgar, looking like the youngest sibling fighting the eldest brother, blurred through combination after combination. What most impressed me, however, wasn't what he landed; it was how he closed.
Whenever Edgar, continuously firing, was caught by Penn he didn't shut down and withdraw. Rather, using incredible speed, footwork and technical striking, he would immediately defend and smoothly flow into effective counter striking. BJ, looking confounded and starting to drag increasing amounts of air, had no response to Edgar's continued barrage of pugilistic prowess.
When it comes to fighting, desperation is something you wear like a shirt. It can't be hidden. It can't be shrugged off; it's an expression that shows. BJ was wearing that expression.
His corner being virtually useless, BJ self initiated and managed to secure two dominant take downs, even securing a full mount. BJ Penn on the ground, much less a full mount is, is a death knoll for anyone. We've seen it multiple times. The combination of know how, athleticism, and flexibility are simply too much for lightweight contemporaries to overcome. But apparently, no one told Edgar that.
Edgar, in a mad( yet controlled) scramble, managed to twist and roll his way out of BJ's bread and butter, winning a psychological battle in the process. (Let's say you can pick up a thousand pounds. Now, some one hands you a 50 pound dumbbell and you can't budge it...trust me;it fucks with you.) With his home base shut down, a visibly frustrated Penn dragged himself back to his feet.
BJ has heart, but in my opinion he started gassing at the end of the second round, yet continued to battle beyond what the majority of the populace could accomplish. Yet Edgar, first round fresh, just got faster.
I picked against Edgar a number of times.
When he premiered against Tyson Griffin, I didn't notice him until he surprisingly won. When he fought against Sean Sherk, I gave him no chance.
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
When BJ and Edgar faced each other the first time, I wouldn't even make a pick. While BJ had all the moves on paper, Edgar had given me enough of a reason to never count him out. As his father said "Frankie can swim".
On the rematch, I knew what to expect (no shit; read my previous articles). I just didn't expect it to happen in that fashion. Frankie came into the ring stomping around, as if to show his superiority. His body language conveyed "this is my house". The resounding and emphatic victory just adds credence to a guy that I think people will continue to underestimate.
Mr. Edgar, Sr? Frankie doesn't just swim; he's Micheal fucking Phelps. And he has given his notice.