Fighter of the Week: Frankie Edgar

Frankie “The Answer” Edgar

Pro Record: 22 wins & 5 losses & 1 draw

Association: Ricardo Almeida BJJ/ KHK MMA Team

Weight Class: Featherweight/Lightweight

 

In this week’s addition of Fight of the Week we take a look at the Takeover’s #3 Featherweight, Frankie Edgar, who at thirty-five years old seems to be defying ‘Father Time’. There aren’t many in the history of the sport more decorated than Edgar and he seems to be as good as we’ve ever seen him after this latest win. In the last nine years he’s only lost to two fighters, Benson Henderson and Jose Aldo twice each, and has only lost to three fighters in his entire career when you include Gray Maynard. Though, what might be most impressive is even with those five career losses, in twenty-eight career fights expanding over twelve years, he has never been finished. He was certainly in no danger of that streak ending at UFC 211, where he dominated rising star Yair Rodriguez for two rounds, to win by TKO (doctor stoppage). Let’s take a look at where it started for this shoo-in Hall of Famer.

Edgar started wrestling at a very young age in Toms River, New Jersey, where he still lives today. Since he was in the seventh grade he’s been training with Steve Rivera at Elite Wrestling NJ where he would see success in both high- school and college. Edgar wrestled at the Division I college Clarion University of Pennsylvania, qualifying for Nationals all four years there. Clarion University of Pennsylvania is actually better known for another wrestler, however, as professional wrestler Kurt Angle would win National Championships for the school in both 1990 and 1992 before winning gold’s in both the 1995 World Championships and 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. After earning his BA in Political Science, Edgar switched his focus from wrestling to MMA. He said he always liked the sport and saw other people have success making the same transition. Within a couple of months from graduating Edgar was starting his MMA career.

Edgar would start his career 6-0, while working as a plumber to pay the bills, before trying out for The Ultimate Fighter 5 (Penn vs. Pulver). Unfortunately, he was not selected to participate on the show. There is so much irony in his exclusion from the show considering he would have three fights with one of the coaches (Penn), he’d have three epic fights with one of the contestants (Maynard), and of course would end up coaching against Penn on that very show years later in what would be the last of their three fights, all wins by Edgar. The failed audition for the show wasn’t all bad news for Edgar, as the UFC would call a month later giving him a fight with Tyson Griffin. A fight Edgar would win, although not without a scare of a late submission attempt by Griffin, and give both fighters a bonus for Fight of the Night. A year and three fights later Edgar would suffer his first career loss against Gray Maynard in their first bout with Maynard utilizing his wrestling to out grapple and win by unanimous decision. Edgar would rebound nicely, winning his next three bouts with two of them earning Fight of the Night bonuses, to setup an epic fight with then UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn.

Edgar would go into his Lightweight Championship at UFC 112 with Penn as a huge underdog, but despite this he won the fight by unanimous decision ending Penn’s two year reign at the top of the Lightweight division. Surprisingly, the fight stayed standing for most of the contest and was close going to the scorecards. Not everyone saw it as a victory for the underdog, however, and the controversy surrounding the result rewarded Penn with an immediate rematch with the new-champ Edgar. The rematch took place four months later at UFC 118. Edgar would prove that the first fight, and result, was no fluke as he would dominate Penn on his way to a unanimous decision. Edgar would go on to defend his belt twice against Gray Maynard in their second and third bouts versus one another. Their second fight at UFC 125 ended in a draw, but it was one of the most epic comebacks of all-time as Maynard dropped Edgar multiple times in the first round and looked close to finishing numerous times only to see Edgar survive and earn enough rounds for the draw. Their third and last fight at UFC 136 would go much like their first fight with Maynard getting the better of Edgar in the standup early, but Edgar would again survive and not leave it in the judges hands winning by KO late in round 4 and earning himself a Knockout of the Night bonus. Edgar would see a bit of adversity after the last Maynard fight losing his next three bouts. The first two were against Benson Henderson where he would lose his title at UFC 144 and the immediate rematch at UFC 150, both highly contested fights with the second coming by split decision. Edgar would drop down and make his featherweight debut in a title fight against then champion Jose Aldo at UFC 153, replacing an injured Mark Koch, but the bout was scrapped due to an Aldo injury. The bout eventually happened at UFC 156, but saw Edgar lose his third fight in a row by decision. The fight did earn both fighters a Fight of the Night bonus, however.

Edgar would be called upon by the UFC to coach The Ultimate Fighter 19 vs. BJ Penn. Initially, Urijah Faber was slotted to coach, but Faber had no desire to move up in weight to fight Edgar and Edgar had no desire to move down in weight so the UFC planned the trilogy fight against Penn. As far as the show went, Team Edgar dominated with all four of the finalists in both the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions represented by Team Edgar. Eddie Gordon and Corey Anderson won their tournaments, respectively. The trilogy fight went much of the same way as the show with Edgar dominating Penn and eventually winning by TKO (punches) in round 3. After blasting through Cub Swanson, Urijah Faber, and Chad Mendes in his next three fights, Edgar would get a rematch with Jose Aldo for the interim UFC Featherweight Championship on the epic card at UFC 200, but Aldo would rebound nicely from the McGregor fight showing he’s still a force to be reckoned with by dominating Edgar for most of the fight and earning a unanimous decision victory.

After a decision win against Jeremy Stephens at UFC 205 it setup a bout vs. highly touted prospect, Yair Rodriguez. There isn’t much to say here except Rodriguez took too big of a leap in competition after beating a washed-up BJ Penn and facing a veteran like Frankie Edgar. Edgar absolutely dominated the first round, opening up with a lot of pressure and eventually getting the takedown where he threw countless elbows to batter Rodriguez’s face. The second round started the same way, however a knee bar attempt gave Rodriguez some hope for a moment, but Edgar being the veteran he is was able to ride it out and punish Rodriguez some more eventually closing his left eye for good and forcing the doctor to stop the fight.

What’s next for Edgar? If you follow our “Who’s Next” article, (http://themmatakeover.com/playing-matchmaker-ufc-211-fighters/), you know what Keith has to say about it. I tend to agree with him on this one. A third fight with Aldo isn’t likely nor is a jump up to fight McGregor. Edgar may need Holloway to pull the upset against Aldo to get another shot at the featherweight title. I’ve heard the Dillashaw rumblings, but UFC President Dana White has publicly stated the Garbrandt-Dillashaw fight is still on. I guess time will tell but I know Edgar will be on hand for the Holloway-Aldo fight at UFC 212. Whoever his opponent is, it’s clear the 35-year-old Edgar’s goal remains the same and he has no intentions of slowing down anytime soon.

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