When Frankie Edgar steps into the Octagon October 13 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil he will fight in his seventh-consecutive UFC championship bout.
After dropping his last two bouts against Benson Henderson, his championship record moved to 3-2-1. Will this be his last opportunity to fight for a UFC belt?
As a betting man, I would have to say no.
Edgar is one of the best, most well-rounded fighters in the world. He will turn 31 three days following UFC 153. The odds are in his favor to earn another shot at a championship should be lose to Aldo. However, it will be a long time until he earns another crack at gold should he taste defeat for the third fight in a row.
Title shots are not merely given out on merit. It is a business, and there is a blend of sport and spectacle with UFC events. While Edgar is an excellent fighter, fans have been growing restless of his fights and rematches. Edgar simply has not drawn interest in title fights. UFC 150 did a reported 190,000 buys.
With a loss, he will have to not only win, but win convincingly to excite the fan base to purchase the next title fight—something that is definitely within his capabilities.
Luckily for Edgar, the featherweight division is lacking depth. That is the biggest factor in Edgar being able to get back to a title shot in short order.
The lack of depth was highlighted by who Edgar replaced for the title shot, Erik Koch.
Koch is only 23 years of age with a 13-1 MMA record. His biggest win came at UFC 128 against Raphael Assuncao, and he followed that with a victory over Jonathan Brookins. That earned him a shot at Aldo's title.
Looking at the list of current featherweights, there are only a couple of legitimate contenders, which gives Edgar an excellent opportunity to jump back up the divisional rankings.
“The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung is atop the list of potential contenders, Chad Mendes is working his way back to a title shot, and Hatsu Hioki and Dustin Poirier are still in the top 10 after being dominated in their last outings.
Edgar's decision to drop down to featherweight will prove to be an excellent move for both himself and the division. He is an instant contender, but his lack of selling ability may hamper a quick rematch for the championship should he lose to Aldo.
Edgar will look to avoid all of these questions and hypotheses by defeating the champion at UFC 153. While a loss will send him down the rankings for a lengthy period of time, one should fully expect Edgar to compete for another UFC championship again down the line.