UFC Official Rankings, Feb. 4 Recap: Is Frankie Edgar Still Pound-for-Pound?

McKinley NobleCorrespondent IFebruary 5, 2013

Despite three consecutive losses, Frankie Edgar is still considered one of the 10 best MMA fighters in the world. (Photo Credit: UFC/Zuffa)
Despite three consecutive losses, Frankie Edgar is still considered one of the 10 best MMA fighters in the world. (Photo Credit: UFC/Zuffa)

Frankie Edgar may be the first man in MMA history to lose three straight bouts and still be considered one of the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

And yet, he's ranked at No. 9 with that very distinction in the official UFC rankings.

It's been a point of controversy to many MMA fans, especially considering that Edgar's 0-3 losing streak has extended over two divisions at lightweight and featherweight.

He's also just the fourth fighter in UFC to get a title shot off more than two losses.

What's going on here?

Once again, this is the asterisk that seems to have followed Edgar around ever since he first lost his title to Benson Henderson at UFC 144 last February. Despite being overwhelmingly outsized by one of the sport's largest 155-pounders, "The Answer" still managed to put in a good showing against "Bendo"—even after being nearly finished with a brutal upkick.

Unfortunately, Edgar's next fight made things more nebulous, as he stormed back in a much more competitive effort at the UFC 150 rematch.

And finally, he dropped a division and got an immediate title shot against featherweight champion Jose Aldo, battling back from two early rounds of punishment to take "Scarface" to a decision.

In every fight, Frankie Edgar looks incredible against the UFC's elite.

But gutsy performances aside, it doesn't change the fact that he still loses.

That seems to be a key reason why MMA fans are in disbelief that 15 out of 28 panelists voted Edgar on the UFC's official pound-for-pound list at all, with 26 of them giving the former champion a top 10 rank at featherweight.

Is it a flaw in the concept of MMA rankings to begin with?

That's a little harder to answer, especially with the guidelines set by the UFC itself. At the very least, placing a title contender just below the champion in defeat is a common practice, although Edgar's case is harmed by his losing streak.

But if you adhere to the strictest sense of "pound-for-pound," that can give leeway to rank fighters based on the value of their opponents and accomplishments, rather than their actual record.

UFC president Dana White himself addressed this same point (via MMA Mania) in Oct. 2011, when he then made a case for Edgar as the world's No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter over Georges St-Pierre:

If you really look at what pound-for-pound means, you cannot deny that Frankie Edgar is now number two. The guy weighs 145-pounds. He's beating people at 155-pounds.

Tonight he beat [Gray Maynard] again who had him out of it, he was done in the first round and a guy who many people believed had his number ... he knocked him out tonight. I'm telling you, man, I've never seen any sh*t like that in my life. ... What he did tonight was amazing and he's the number two pound-for-pound fighter in the world, I don't give a sh*t was anybody else says, it's the truth.

But does Edgar's pound-for-pound status really hold up now that he's dropped a weight division and lost to a featherweight?

Maybe it does and doesn't. But there's plenty of MMA fans who don't believe that Edgar warrants a spot on the list at all, much less a spot over Dan Henderson (ranked at No. 10).

Don't forget, FightMetric (the official database of UFC statistics) also plays a part in tabulating the consensus rankings, and Edgar amazingly holds five all-time records in the UFC so far: significant strikes landed, longest average fight time, total fight time, takedowns landed and significant strike defense.

Either way, it's undeniable proof that for whatever personal or logical reasons, Edgar's performances over the years haven't lowered his value with key members of the MMA media too much.

McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist and FightFans Radio writer. His work has appeared in GamePro, Macworld and PC World. Talk with him on Twitter.