I don't have anything against Koch, but there was a good chance I might be called in to do a radio shot or podcast appearance. And, shame of all shames, I have no idea how the semi-obscure challenger pronounces his last name.
Is it coke, like the beverage? Is he kin to former New York mayor Ed Koch? Does it rhyme with, um, clock? I've seen the man fight multiple times and can't say for sure, which says something about his prestige level as a challenger, or at least, about my memory.
Frankie Edgar, though? He's someone I know. Last night, I argued Edgar was one win away from a title shot at 145 pounds. It seems I was wrong. He's no wins away. In fact, coming off consecutive losses, he was apparently negative two wins away from a shot at gold.
I have no problem with this.
Edgar may be on a losing streak, but those were close fights with lightweight champion Benson Henderson. Edgar doesn't need to prove himself at featherweight. He's proven plenty at 155 pounds, beating the legendary B.J. Penn on two occasions and dominant wrestler Gray Maynard on another.
The truth is, at least today, success at lightweight means more. It's the more established division. A fighter like Penn is a good barometer for where Edgar stands in the MMA world. We are comfortable with Frankie Edgar. His reign as lightweight champion meant something, more than enough to qualify him for a shot at featherweight gold.
Aldo, for all his talents, is just building his legend. More than that, he's been building a division that is relatively new to the UFC and its fanbase. For him, this fight has to be a godsend. Beating Edgar will do more than a dozen wins over unknown featherweights, no matter how talented. Beating Edgar will give instant credibility to a champion who needs a recognizable name on his resume.
Sometimes, injuries ruin a show. Look no further than the gone, but never forgotten, UFC 151. Here, an injury has boosted this card into a must-see event.
Jose Aldo has a chance to propel himself to the top of the pound-for-pound rankings.
Edgar has a chance to reinvent himself as a featherweight.
And the fans? We get to sit back and watch what may be the best fight of the year on paper.
Win. Win. Win.
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