Penn simply wasn't quick enough to catch Edgar, who deftly moved side-to-side like a waterbug, mixing up his positioning, and keeping his head and waist on a swivel the entire night.
With the striking edge beginning to favor Edgar, Penn probably should have listened to his corner who asked for him to take the fight to the ground where he could employ his elite Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills. Penn was having none of it though, and even after being taken down for the first time in over 7 years at lightweight, Penn bounced right back up and kept scrapping.
There is honor in that, but if Penn is going to regain his title he's going to need to take a page out of Georges St. Pierre's playbook and continue to learn from his mistakes and play to his strengths.
He needs to listen to his corner. He's got to be able to make adjustments during the fight when things aren't working out as planned.
Despite the loss, Penn is still among the world's greatest fighters. His resume is much too strong to deny him that, but he's got to be prepared to work on his weaknesses and make adjustments. It was a mistake to continue trading with Edgar as the fight wore on, but Penn didn't seem to want to deviate at all from standing with Edgar. Maybe he thought his power would bail him out, or maybe he thought Edgar would eventually tire - neither happened.
There's no question that Penn can regain his status as the world's greatest lightweight. He's still among the best technical boxers in all of MMA, he's among the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners in the sport. There aren't many fighters in the world at lightweight capable of taking him down, and none can hold him there even if they do. He's also got great power for his weight and is likely the most dexterous fighter in the world.
Having the tools has never been an issue for Penn. How he uses those tools at times, however, can leave Penn fans as frustrated as Penn was on Saturday night.