For the first time in nearly four years, Edgar will enter the Octagon without a UFC title on the line. Now he's had plenty of those fights before, but in his last seven bouts he's either had the belt wrapped around his waist going into a show, or the gold strap has been up for grabs.
Now following three losses in a row, Edgar is back to contender status without the promise of a title on the line or even a title shot with a win on Saturday.
Sometimes when an athlete reaches the peak of a sport and then falls down, it's tough to get back up again. Edgar promises that's not the case with him because he misses being champion something fierce, so he's going to take out that aggression on Oliveira and get back into the title race once again.
"It's definitely something new," Edgar told MMA's Great Debate Radio about being back in a non-title fight. "I haven't done it in quite a while, I think in over three years now.
"I'll be honest, I'm motivated maybe more so now than ever. For me, a title is always what you're working for, especially when it's on the line, it always puts a little more emphasis on things. I just want to win. I want to win every fight. Whether a title's on the line, whether it's my first fight, anything. It's just that I want to get that win."
Edgar doesn't plan on staying in non-title fights for very long. Of course he heard the criticism that he received a rematch with Benson Henderson, and maybe didn't deserve it. He heard the noise that he shouldn't have received an immediate title shot when he dropped down to the featherweight division.
The problem is Edgar is hunting for gold, and if the UFC offered him another shot at the belt tomorrow he would accept without hesitation.
"I want to fight for titles. If it gets offered to me again, I'll take it right away," Edgar said. "That's the reason why we do this to fight to be the best. If you get a title shot, whether you earned it or not, you've got to take it. I'm willing to earn it if that's the case, one fight, two fights, whatever the case may be. That's what I want."
Another oddity that Edgar will deal with in his fight against Oliveira is that he's not being treated as the underdog for once. Even when he held the UFC lightweight title, Edgar came into his rematch against B.J. Penn as the betting underdog, and the same could be said for both of his fights against Gray Maynard.
This time around Edgar is the decided favorite, a top-10 fighter taking on a challenger not considered one of the elite featherweights currently in the UFC.
Edgar knows that amps up the pressure on him to perform at an even higher level, and he fully intends on showing that to Oliveira and anyone else who is watching.
"Usually I'm the underdog, and I don't think I am for this fight. That's probably something different for me," Edgar said. "For me, I do respect my opponents. I always respect them but not to the point where I'm afraid or anything. I kind of treat that the same with Charles.
"I want to be able to put that stamp on it and leave no doubt in anyone's mind and walk away with a finish."
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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