Back in 2010, Frankie Edgar defeated B.J. Penn to become the UFC’s undisputed lightweight champion of the world. Despite being undersized for the UFC’s 155-pound weight class, Edgar competed at lightweight through necessity – there was no featherweight division in the UFC when he joined the organization in 2007.
But despite lining up against bigger, more powerful opposition, Edgar proved his worth. After capturing the title, he then defeated Penn in a rematch, then fought to a draw with heavy-handed wrestler Gray Maynard in an instant classic at UFC 125 in January 2011.
That fight demanded a rematch and Edgar put things right second time around, bouncing back again from a tough start to eventually knock out Maynard in the fourth round and retain his title.
Those two fights with Maynard showcased everything you need to know about Edgar. He faced adversity and looked close to defeat, but would not be denied as he came storming back on both occasions – once to salvage a draw from the brink of defeat, then to finish the job in the rematch.
Fast-forward to present day, and Edgar is now competing at his optimal weight of featherweight. He has challenged for the undisputed and interim titles already and fallen agonisingly short on both occasions.
Now, after winning his way back into contention once more, he faces reigning 145-pound champion Max Holloway for the undisputed belt once again.
Victory will see Edgar join an exclusive group of fighters who have captured UFC world titles in two weight classes, and would seal his legacy as one of the UFC’s greatest-ever fighters.
Speaking to me at the UFC’s summer press conference in Las Vegas, Edgar explained what Saturday night’s fight means to him after such a remarkable career.
“I think it would be the cherry on top,” he said.
“What I’ve done in my career kind of speaks for itself. but I’m not satisfied. I want to go out as a champion another time and this is the opportunity. I know what’s at stake, so I’m gonna make the best of it.”
He’s an 11/4 underdog for his title tilt at Holloway (2/9) this weekend at UFC 240, but he’s made a career out of upsetting the odds.
And the 37-year-old New Jersey native can do it one more time time this weekend, don’t be surprised if he calls it a career and leaves the octagon for the final time the way he wants to – with championship gold around his waist.
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