36-Year-Old UFC Featherweight 21-5-1
January 8, 2018 Frankie Edgar News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Edgar will fight Max Holloway for the UFC Featherweight Title in the main event of UFC 222 on March 3.
Edgar's recovery from the facial injury he suffered during practice for UFC 218 is on schedule, and his showdown with Max Holloway -- which was first planned back in November -- is now back on the books. The 36-year-old has fought for the UFC Featherweight Title twice before but lost both matches, each to Jose Aldo, who Holloway previously defeated in his first title defense in December. If Edgar is able to secure the victory in Vegas, he'll have obtained a title belt in two different weight classes -- a feat only five fighters have done before. However, since Holloway has won his last 12 bouts in UFC, Edgar will certainly have his work cut out for him as a betting underdog if he wants to make history.
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Fantasy AnalysisEdgar apparently suffered a facial injury during training that will ultimately require surgery, ending his shot at becoming the fifth fighter in UFC history to win titles in multiple weight classes (he's a former lightweight champion). It's a tough break for the 36-year-old fighter, as he's won seven of his last eight bouts and was looking to bounce back from his championship loss to Jose Aldo in July 2016. Holloway is expected to stay on the card and defend his title, though a replacement for Edgar has yet to be announced.
Fantasy AnalysisEdgar has certainly earned the right to be Holloway's first challenger, as his only losses since 2013 have been to former champion Jose Aldo. Edgar is almost a decade older than Holloway and has more experience in five-round fights, but Holloway is one of the hottest fighters on the roster at the moment, riding an 11-bout winning streak. For Edgar to come out on top, he'll be best suited to get this fight to the mat where he can use his wrestling to negate Holloway's length advantage. Holloway does have an 83 percent takedown defense in his UFC career, however, so this will be easier said than done.
Fantasy AnalysisFrankie once again proved that he is one of the very best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Facing a young, unorthodox, and ultra-talented opponent, Edgar grounded Rodriguez moments after the opening bell rang and he never gave him a chance to breathe. Frankie beat his young opponent from pillar to post before the doctor finally stopped the fight at the end of Round 2 with Rodriguez's eye completely swollen shut. It was such an impressive performance that The Answer may suddenly be in line to face the winner of next month's UFC Featherweight Championship Unification fight between Jose Aldo and Max Holloway.
Fantasy AnalysisAccording to Damon Martin of FOX Sports, Edgar recently inked a new deal with the UFC, which helped make all of this possible. Matchup-wise, this is a classic battle of a veteran in Edgar (35) against an up-and-comer in Rodriguez (24). Edgar has faced the best the division has to offer, and his only loss in his last seven bouts has been against current champion Jose Aldo. His pedigree to date should help Edgar enter as the favorite, but many pundits will have him on upset alert due to the unpredictable, unorthodox striking style of the young Rodriguez.
Fantasy AnalysisEdgar had to dig deep in Round 2 after he was caught with a high-kick right to the face, but he managed to survive the frame and he was in control the rest of the way. Edgar was the far more effective of the two men over the course of the fight, constantly moving and forcing his opponent to lunge at him. Frankie was facing a much bigger man in Stephens, but you wouldn't know it from the way the fight unfolded. Edgar was also able to mix in a takedown (five in total) whenever he found himself in trouble. Frankie's cardio and hand speed appeared to be a missing when he lost to Jose Aldo in July, but both of those aspects of his game reappeared in a big way on Saturday. Simply put, Edgar remains one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Fantasy AnalysisThat -340 number is good enough to make Frankie the second-biggest favorite on the card. Prior to his loss to Jose Aldo in July, Edgar's previous five fights resulted in wins over Chad Mendes, Urijah Faber, Cub Swanson, BJ Penn, and Charles Oliveira. Edgar can't figure out how to beat Aldo, but he seemingly handles every other 145-pounder on the UFC roster. Edgar, a New Jersey native, should be pumped to fight in front of family in friends in his first appearance at The Garden and a rebound performance should be expected here. The hard-hitting Stephens is a good matchup for the fleet-footed Edgar. The Answer remains a top-three fighter in a loaded UFC featherweight division.
Fantasy AnalysisEdgar last fought in July, losing a featherweight matchup to Jose Aldo in a five-round, unanimous decision bout. There had been some speculation that "The Answer" would test the waters in the bantamweight division, but the announcement to fight Stephens indicates his preference of fighting between 135 and 145 pounds for this bout. The two fighters will face off in Madison Square Garden with relatively similar track records, as Stephens boasts a 25-12 record in MMA.
Fantasy AnalysisEdgar didn't come out himself with this assertion, but his coach, Mark Henry, believes that the true weight class of "The Answer" is 135 pounds. He's been fighting in the 145-pound class for the majority of his career, but after suffering his second loss to Jose Aldo at UFC 200 in July, Edgar now finds himself at a bit of a roadblock within the division. Although he matches up well against Conor McGregor, who is still technically the featherweight champion, it doesn't seem like Edgar will get that opportunity any time soon. McGregor is probably more likely to move up a weight class than return to fight top featherweight contenders.
Fantasy AnalysisThe first three rounds were close and could have gone either way, but the last two were not. Edgar landed more than Aldo early, but the Brazilian connected with the more powerful shots. By the championship rounds, Frankie was doing little. He had trouble getting into a groove all night long. He was consistently struggling to reach Aldo in the exchanges between the two men on the feet and he ended up failing on all 12 of his takedown attempts, most of which were half-hearted attempts to change the pace of the fight. Edgar has lost two fights since August 2012, both of which have come against Aldo. At age 34, common sense would say that Edgar just had his last shot at UFC gold, but Frankie keeps himself in such great shape that it's hard to rule anything out.
Fantasy AnalysisEdgar and Aldo, but Edgar particulary, have been held hostage by Conor McGregor’s desire to compete in two divisions. Edgar has done more than enough (he has won five-straight fights against Chad Mendes, Uriah Faber, Cub Swanson, BJ Penn and Charles Oliveira) to get a shot at the real UFC Featherweight Championship, not the interim belt, but this is the state of affairs at 145 pounds these days. Frankie dropped a unanimous decision to Aldo in February 2013, but Edgar looks as good now as he has at any point in his career. Aldo is one of the toughest outs in the world, even after his disturbing loss to McGregor, but Edgar has the ability to win this fight, as the Vegas odds indicate.
Fantasy AnalysisEdgar was called upon to fight Conor McGregor after Rafael dos Anjos had to withdraw from their lightweight title matchup due to injury, but had to turn down the opportunity due to injury. Now healthy, he'll look to deal Aldo his second straight defeat in what is essentially a title eliminator fight. With McGregor vacating the featherweight class to fight in other divisions, the UFC decided to put the interim belt up for grabs, and if Edgar prevails, he'll get his long-anticipated shot for the outright title. If Edgar can get past Aldo, look for him to pose some matchup problems for McGregor. Not only will he be one of the best wrestlers Conor has ever faced, but Edgar also possesses above-average power for the 145-pound class.
Fantasy AnalysisIt case it wasn't clear before, Edgar deserves a title shot. Anyone who can starch Mendes that quickly is the real deal. The footwork of Edgar is a beautiful thing to watch. He never stands still and he is constantly moving in and out. The finish came when one huge left hook sent Mendes crumbling to the ground. Referee John McCarthy stepped in immediately and Mendes put up no argument whatsoever regarding the stoppage. Frankie may be 34-years old, but he is getting better with age. Edgar's quickest path to a featherweight title shot would appear to be a Jose Aldo victory tomorrow night. It's certainly conceivable that Aldo could get an immediate rematch if Conor McGregor wins. Either way, Edgar deserves the next shot. He's won five fights in a row, all against elite competition (Mendes, Urijah Faber, Cub Swanson, BJ Penn, Charles Oliveira). Frankie is fighting better now than he ever has in his entire career.
Fantasy AnalysisEdgar is deserving of a title shot, but he is going to have to come up with at least one more huge win before that dream becomes a reality. Always one of the best conditioned athletes in all of MMA, Edgar has won four fights in a row including impressive performances over Urijah Faber and Cub Swanson. Edgar's last loss came against current UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo back in February 2013. Mendes is an elite opponent, but Edgar has the footwork to keep him constantly off balance. It should be one of the best fights of the year.
Fantasy AnalysisDecember is shaping up to be the greatest month of fights in UFC history. Edgar wants (and deserves) a featherweight title shot, but the timing just doesn't work out right now. Edgar stated in early June that he was willing to sit out until he got that shot at the champion, but he ultimately caved. Mendes is about as tough of a test as there is, but Edgar is nearly certain to get the title shot he is hoping for if he can clear this hurdle. While Edgar/Mendes will take place on December 11, the featherweight unification bout between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor will take place the next night.
Fantasy AnalysisSimply put, Edgar wants the winner of next month's bout between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor. With four straight wins, including victories of Urijah Faber, Cub Swanson and Charles Oliveira, a case can certainly be made that Edgar deserves it. The biggest obstacle in Edgar's way would seem to be a McGregor victory. Aldo has been UFC lightweight champion since November 2010 and he hasn't lost a fight since November 2005. He almost certainly would get an immediate rematch if he lost to McGregor. It remains to be seen what Edgar would do if this situation ends up presenting itself.
Fantasy AnalysisFaber hung in there but Edgar was far more active (he attempted 266 total strikes compared to Faber's 149) and was able to land takedowns (five) when needed. Edgar's cardio is amongst the best in the UFC and he looked just as fresh in the fifth round as he did in the first. Neither fighter really came close to ending the bout at any point but Edgar was in control pretty much the entire time. Edgar deserves (and will probably get) a featherweight title shot against the winner of July's bout between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor.