Once again another injury has plagued a main-event fight and taken Erik Koch out of his title fight with Jose Aldo for the Featherweight championship. Stepping in to take his place is none other than former UFC Lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar.
Edgar and title fights have been hand in hand these past years, involving the New Jersey native in the past six title fights in the Lightweight division. Between a draw and rematches, Edgar has decided to move down to 145 in hopes of finding new success. It is a weight class many feel that is more fit for the size of Edgar, but because of his success at Lightweight, not much evidence was being shown that a move down was necessary.
After losing his past two fights to now current Lightweight Champion, Benson Henderson, he will venture down to possibly attain a second UFC title in his career. Edgar was not originally slated to get an immediate title shot, but due to Koch’s injury, an opportunity has presented itself.
The question is, was taking the immediate title shot the best decision?
Edgar lost his last fight with Bendo mid-August and will now be fighting mid-October. Roughly two months gives him a decent amount of time, but he has had quite a bit more time for camp for all but one of each of his fights in his career.
The last time he had this short of turnaround was after his first pro fight. Now taking on one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world in a new weight class on a “short” notice, it leaves to question if it will be adequate time to prepare for such a dangerous opponent.
Jose Aldo has been winning dominantly in his weight class, and has shown a ferocity that is something to admire. Edgar has shown heart and speed in his underdog story of a career, and managed to come out on top most of the time. But Edgar’s speed was one advantage he had in the lightweight division; his ability to get in and get out and foot movement helped him deal with bigger and stronger opponents.
Now he faces a man who possesses the same advantage, speed and movement. Styles make fights, and for Edgar, he may be walking into a fight where his advantages are met, or even surpassed.
On the other hand, Edgar dropping in weight could also produce an even quicker fighter, who then may be able to avoid Aldo and his deadly leg kicks and other Muay Thai strikes. On top of that, Aldo is coming off an injury, which could work in favor of Edgar’s chances.
Edgar has shown that even after taking a beating, he can push himself through it and fight to the end, and that may be what wins him this fight. Aldo has had some issues with weight cutting, and Edgar will dictate this fight if Aldo’s tank doesn’t stand up to his. Edgar has the ability to move and strike at the same pace from the first round to the fifth, and if he can survive the onslaught of Aldo, he has a good chance of winning.
The opportunity to challenge oneself and get a crack at a new title is a great thing, and Edgar has the chance to put himself back into the top tier of the pound-for-pound greats. If he can win this fight, he becomes known as one of the best P4P fighters, and people will excuse any losses at Lightweight using the logic of Edgar now being at the weight class he was meant to be fighting at. He then has the opportunity to take on other big-name fighters that will help boost his stats if he can manage to stay on top.
However, the danger of taking this fight is the other side of the coin. If Edgar loses his fight with Aldo, it could do a lot of harm to his career. He is not in any danger of being cut, but regardless if you think he won his fights with Bendo or not, he still will be on a three-fight losing streak. After that, he will need to fight a few more people in hopes of getting back to a title shot.
If he loses along that path, it may be a while, if ever, we see him back in a title shot. Edgar is open to big fights at either Featherweight or Lightweight, which will help counter any losses he takes, but he will only be given big-fights if he can keep winning.
Losing to Aldo doesn’t ruin his career, but it certainly is a big setback. Yes, he would have lost to one of the P4P best in his home country, but if he gets finished by Aldo, who knows that the UFC will want to do as far as getting Edgar back into a shot in a timely manner?
While his confidence is high, and he possesses the ability to win this fight; taking on a fighter like Jose Aldo in less than two months of training could put a mark on your record that could take some work to erase.
Time will tell if taking the fight was a big mistake, or the greatest decision Frankie Edgar ever made. Aldo will present a big problem for him, but then again, Edgar is “The Answer” after all.