At UFC 112, the unthinkable happened: BJ Penn lost to Frankie Edgar. After a relatively uneventful five rounds, the judges came back with a unanimous verdict in Edgar's favor. Say what you want about the decision, but BJ let a close fight go to the judges. He looked like a broken and beaten man after the fight.
Does Frankie Edgar jump to number one for beating BJ Penn? I'm sure some people will say yes. Fight Matrix already has Edgar at number one. I'm not a big rankings guy, but I think there is a strong case for ranking Shinya Aoki number one. Edgar's win was not exactly dominant, and a lot of people think he should have lost the fight on the cards. Aoki and Penn have been neck and neck for the top lightweight spot for a long time now, and Penn's loss should push Aoki to the front of the line.
If you accept that Aoki is the number one lightweight in the world now, that makes his title fight with Gilbert Melendez this weekend at Strikeforce all the more consequential. It may be too late to change the way the fight is being hyped, but I think CBS should take advantage and start running promos about featuring Shinya Aoki, the number one lightweight in the world. Sure, people will have issues with it, but now it's debatable and they can run something like that in good faith.
Gilbert Melendez has only 2 career losses, and he has a chance on CBS to get the biggest win of his career. He's fought a lot of good fighters, but Aoki is the best fighter he's ever competed against, and certainly the highest ranked. After losing his ranking and a lot of status with the MMA community following his losses to Ishida and Thomson, Melendez has a chance to vault himself straight to the top of the lightweight division with a win over Shinya Aoki.
The Strikeforce card may not have Fedor, but there's no denying that it's a strong card. The three main events are all very interesting fights, and the lightweight title match just became that much more meaningful as a result of Penn's defeat.