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“The Answer”

My first memory of Frankie Edgar was UFC 67, Feb 2007. The reason it was so memorable for me was that his opponent, Tyson Griffin, was a great prospect training in my hometown (Santa Rosa, CA) under the tutelage of California North Bay legend Dave Terrell. Terrell had a UFC title fight vs Evan Tanner (RIP Evan) 2 years prior and there was a lot of talent being groomed at Terrell’s NorCal Fighting Alliance. Griffin was 8-0 headed into the fight with Edgar and had recent KO victories over Uriah Faber and Duane Ludwig. Edgar was 6-0, his fight before Griffin being a decision victory over Jim Miller. I expected Tyson to maul Frankie and I was dead wrong. Edgar won via unanimous decision in a battle that earned fight of the night honors. Not only was I surprised, but I was also heavily impressed and became an immediate fan of Frankie Edgar and haven’t missed any of his fights thereafter. 

A post shared by Amanda Sanchez (Chica) (@amandansanchez) on Jul 26, 2019 at 8:44am PDT

Frankie is one of the very few fighters who doesn’t cut much weight, which I find interesting because he’s from a wrestling background where weight cutting has always been prolific. Most 145ers cut significantly more than Frankie, many 135ers walk around heavier than Frankie does. I’d guess even some 125ers walk around as heavy or even heavier than Frankie. Many people think his perfect weight class is 135, yet Frankie has always chosen against that route. He also had to choose that route in his early MMA career because 155 was the lowest weight class available. 

Well over half of Edgar’s career was pre-USADA. In a sport notorious for people who use PEDs, Frankie has always been known to have the highest ethical standards in this regard and there’s zero evidence otherwise. My guess is when USADA got involved with the UFC, Edgar was one of the few who didn’t blink an eye and thought “it’s about time”. When Edgar was in the beginning of his career at 155 most of his opponents outweighed him in the cage by at least 15lbs, let alone potential PED usage. Edgar proved people don’t need a size advantage or “extra sauce” to be successful, most important is hard work and a lot of determination. 

A post shared by Amanda Sanchez (Chica) (@amandansanchez) on Jul 12, 2019 at 11:18am PDT

Though Frankie’s title reign at 155 didn’t last tremendously long, it’s pretty impressive looking back on it. His run included the dethroning of the legendary BJ Penn, which in 2010 was a massive upset. Not only did he dethrone BJ, but he also took an immediate rematch and nearly duplicated what he did in the first fight. After defeating Penn a second time, we saw the insane 2nd fight between Edgar and Maynard which ended in a draw. Frankie survived one of the most lopsided rounds in MMA title fight history, a 1st round where many thought the 10-8 should have been scored 10-7. Anybody who follows MMA now and watches that first round would probably agree that in today’s MMA it’s much more likely the fight would have been stopped. However, to Frankie’s credit, he not only survived but he came out in the 2nd round bouncing around as if he’d barely taken any damage. This was a moment where MMA fans were forced to respect Frankie Edgar regardless of their opinion of him. His toughness and resilience that night proved to be as strong as anybody we’d ever seen in MMA. Because of the draw, Frankie was forced to face Maynard again. Unlike the back to back fights with BJ, Frankie would vastly improve his result from a draw to a 4th round knockout. Unfortunately for Frankie, this would be his last successful title defense, losing his belt to a prime Benson Henderson. Frankie had earned so much respect from the UFC during his title reign that they gave him a rematch with Benson, making it the 3rd opponent in a row he’d fight back to back. While the 2nd fight was closer and went to split decision, once again Benson got the better of Frankie. 

The back to back losses against Benson Henderson ultimately forced Frankie’s decision to drop to 145. Because of his success at 155, he was able to get an immediate title shot against Jose Aldo, of which he was unsuccessful. After a long series of title fights, Frankie was forced back down the ladder but not much. Edgar gained victories in his next 5 fights (including 3 finishes) over Charles Olivera, BJ Penn, Cub Swanson, Uriah Faber, and Chad Mendes. After the impressive 1st round KO victory over Mendes, Frankie once again was fighting for the UFC belt against no other than Jose Aldo. Though Frankie was everything he’s always been (tough and resilient) it was apparent Aldo had his number. 3 years later, the man who had Frankie’s number became victim to a new featherweight king who’s had Aldo’s number; Max Holloway. Now, after 14 hard years as an MMA professional, Edgar has found himself in his 9th UFC title fight vs a new opponent. 

A post shared by Frankie Edgar (@frankieedgar) on Jul 25, 2019 at 11:23am PDT

Frankie Edgar is a consummate professional who’s earned the respect of MMA fans across the globe over his years competing in the UFC. All MMA fighters have the utmost respect for Frankie and that respect is even greater when you hear his coaches and teammates speak of him. He’s a proud yet quiet family man who remains dedicated to the most important things in life. Anybody who coaches, especially wrestling-BJJ-MMA, would be wise to turn a kid onto the career of Frankie Edgar. You cannot find a better role model. He’s hard-working and humble, yet tirelessly pursues his dreams and has achieved well beyond people’s expectations multiple times in his life. His opponent for UFC 240, Max Holloway, is a man deserving of equal respect. Best of luck to both men because “The Answer” is, no matter who wins, the fans will be “Blessed”.■

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