Coach: Frankie Edgar's New Strategy Only Involves Finishing His Opponents
Former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar got back on track last Saturday night with a dominant performance over Charles Oliveira, winning by unanimous decision.
It was a necessary win for Edgar, who had dropped his last three fights in a row, albeit in consecutive championship fights that all ended with very close scores when it was over.
Coming out against Oliviera at UFC 162, Edgar wanted to leave no doubt in anyone's mind who was the victor and he accomplished that with a unanimous decision victory.
Unfortunately, the win wasn't as unanimous as his head coach, Mark Henry, would have liked.
While two of the judges scored the fight 30-27 for Edgar, one judge had the fight 29-28, which means they gave at least one round to Oliveira. Now Henry isn't crying controversy over a single round on one judge's scorecard, but in a fight that most saw as Edgar winning the biggest part of each round, he's still left wondering what the New Jersey fighter has to do to make sure all of the scores are coming in his favor.
"We were so excited and I'm walking to the locker room and I'm saying to myself one judge didn't say 29-28 did they? That's what I'm saying. It just gets so depressing, it's like Frankie is on a different scale for what he has to do when he goes into a fight," Henry told Bleacher Report.
"I don't know what the kid has to do. He took him down a million times, kept him down, out struck him two to one in power shots. He rocked him in the first, rocked him in the third. I don't know how he lost a round on one of the judge's cards. Sometimes I'm just baffled."
Henry isn't sure if it's Edgar's size matched up to his opponent's or because he's known for almost always bleeding from his nose from a fight even when he really doesn't take much damage.
"Frankie, like sometimes we go in there and I don't know if it's his size or because he bleeds or what it is," Henry explained. "Maybe he's the smaller guy or maybe he's bleeding and I know he's fine because he bleeds all the time. It's like this grading scale with Frankie, I don't even notice any more."
Edgar has been at the center of some controversial decisions over the past few years including his title fight against Gray Maynard that ended in a draw and two championship bouts against Benson Henderson. In both fights against Henderson there were a fair share of fans and journalists who believe Edgar should have gotten the nod.
Either way, Edgar's coach says the fighter is done with close decisions. As a matter of fact, he's done with decisions all the way around.
"The new game plan with Frankie is we just have to finish guys," Henry stated. "Like I know we didn't get it, but we have to try to finish everybody he fights now because we don't even know what the rules are with him. He out strikes people, takes them down, his cardio's better so with Frankie I don't even know how to scale it any more. It's just simple to say kill the guy, leave no doubt."
Now it's easier said than done to finish fights. It's a safe bet that almost every fighter enters the Octagon with the goal of putting their opponents away, but sometimes it just doesn't happen.
Henry just wants the mentality and the preparation for Edgar to change so it's just ingrained in his every move to put his opposition away and leave no doubt that he won the fight.
"That's just the game plan now. Just be ultra aggressive. Frankie's always been a Sugar Ray (Leonard) type, moving around, but the last two camps we've really been working on him pressuring people and going after them more," Henry said.
"He did it more in the (Jose) Aldo fight and in this last one, and it's something he's had to learn more in his career. He was always kind of a slip and move guy and we had to teach him a totally different game. After those (Benson) Henderson fights, we wanted to teach him to also know how to pressure guys a lot."
"So that's where we're at, every round finish this guy. Let's get out of here. Let's not go to the judges. I think that's a way better way to fight, too. Dana (White) always says it, and I have to agree with them. I've kind of changed my ways."
Regardless of the one judge who didn't score the entire fight for Edgar, he still walked out of the fight victorious. Now it's back into training as they await word from the UFC on which opponent they draw next as Edgar tries to start his path back to title contention.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted
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