Former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar could be facing his last shot at UFC gold.
‘The Answer’ will meet Max Holloway in the main event of this weekend’s (Sat., July 27, 2019) UFC 240 from Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. When he does, it will be his third shot at a UFC featherweight title (including interim belts). He’s come up just short in those three fights. The odds would suggest the deck is stacked against Edgar. Indeed, he’s tasked with facing arguably the best MMA featherweight of all-time in the Hawaiian ‘Blessed.’
However, there are some signs, albeit slight, that Holloway is not the unbeatable wrecking machine many pegged him as after his bludgeoning win over Brian Ortega late last year. Indeed, Holloway suffered his first loss since August 2013 – a span of 14 fights – when he took on Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight belt at April’s UFC 236. True, that was up a weight class, but Edgar has ruled the 155-pound roost himself. Speaking to BJPENN.com recently, ‘The Answer’ gave his thoughts on Holloway’s recent defeat:
“I think the weight was a big difference and Poirier is a much different fight than myself as he is a southpaw. So, I just don’t take much from it, but little tidbits that my coach dissected and got from it. But, for the most part, it is a totally different fight.”
Holloway Rebounding From Defeat
Asked about how Holloway will respond to the loss, Edgar thinks it could go either way. He believes Holloway will come in motivated. ‘Blessed’ may have lost to Poirier, but Edgar noted it was a close fight:
“Everyone is different, everyone handles losses differently. He may be second-guessing himself, or he could be super motivated. I’m expecting to see a motivated guy,” Edgar said. “It was a loss but it was a fantastic fight and he put on a tremendous performance. He won a couple of those rounds, too. A few things go differently in that fight and he gets his hand raised.”
The Best Wrestler ‘Blessed’ Has Faced?
As for what he plans to do against the taller, lankier Holloway, most are expecting Edgar to use his vaunted takedown game. Edgar didn’t seem to shy away from that notion. He believes he’ll be the best wrestler the champ has ever fought, yet also knows Holloway will be preparing for it:
“We will see. He has fought some decent wrestlers in the past, but I think I will be the best wrestler he has fought,” Edgar said. “It is something that I always utilize in my fights and he is preparing for it a bunch. I know he is expecting me to look for those takedowns.”
Ring Rust Not Real
Holloway vs. Edgar has proved to be an extremely difficult fight to see transpire. This weekend will be the third time it’s been booked. The prior two schedulings fell apart due to injuries from both sides. Overall, ‘The Answer’ has been out of action since April 2018, and questions of ring rust are inevitably awaiting him this week. He claims he doesn’t believe in that aspect of fighting and was still in the gym while injured:
“I don’t think ring rust is real for me. I’m always in the gym. Like I was supposed to fight in December and was three weeks away from that one,” he said. “During my injury, I was in the gym doing what I could do. I would have liked to fight to make some money and test myself. But, things worked the way they did. If it is a year off but fighting for the title next, I’ll take it.”
Going For The Finish
Edgar is planning to go into UFC 240 and finish the champ. But if that opportunity doesn’t present itself, he’s obviously focusing on emerging victoriously. He’s trying to get Holloway out of his comfort zone, and said mixing it up in the Octagon will be key to that strategy:
“I’m going to in there and try to finish him that is for sure. He is a durable guy so we will see. Whether it is a five-round fight or put him away. The main goal is a victory. I have to make Max second guess himself, I have to make him feel that he needs some urgency. Just fight my fight. I mix it up better than most people in this sport and that is key to this victory.”
Edgar closed on his gameplan to make Holloway rethink his strategy. He believes his best effort will ensure he secures his long-coveted UFC featherweight championship:
“Just me pushing the pace and making Max make mistakes and do some uncharacteristic things. Just fight to the best of my ability. I think if I fight to the best of my ability I walk away with the belt.”
The stakes will be more than just high in Edmonton this weekend. Holloway will look to rebound from his first defeat in almost six years. But Edgar has more on the line, as a failed effort to win will almost certainly mean his days of fighting for UFC gold are over.
Will Edgar’s gameplan finally lead to featherweight gold this Saturday?