Gray Maynard Willing to Drop to Featherweight for Final Bout with Frankie Edgar

Jeremy Botter@jeremybotterMMA Senior WriterNovember 26, 2013

May 24, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC light heavyweight Gray Maynard during the weight-in for UFC 160 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports
Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Gray Maynard isn't quite done with Frankie Edgar. At least, he hopes not. 

Maynard and Edgar's story began on April 2, 2008. The location was Broomfield, Colo., and the event was Kenny Florian vs. Joe Lauzon. Maynard and Edgar were in the co-main event spot, and Maynard scored a unanimous-decision win in a fight that wasn't all that memorable.

Fast forward to almost three years later. Edgar was the reigning UFC lightweight champion, having dethroned B.J. Penn almost a year prior, then defending the belt against Penn in a rematch. Maynard had won five fights in a row, finally beating Kenny Florian to earn his title shot. 

At UFC 125, Maynard challenged Edgar for the title. He came oh so close to beating Edgar, pummeling him badly and nearly finishing him in the first two rounds before Edgar began to mount a comeback. Though it seemed improbable (if not downright impossible) after the beating Edgar took in the opening minutes of the fight, he did enough to earn a split draw with Maynard.

They would rematch at UFC 136. Once again, Maynard would obliterate Edgar in the first round. And once again, Edgar valiantly endured the hellacious beating, working his way back into the fight. This time, though, he would finish Maynard by TKO in the fourth round.

These days, Edgar plies his trade in the featherweight division while Maynard remains at lightweight. Maynard has a fight lined up; he'll face Nate Diaz in a rematch of their Ultimate Fighter Season 5 bout. Edgar is currently filming the next season of the reality show, and he'll face opposing coach B.J. Penn after the season concludes in 2014.

But none of that is stopping Maynard from pursuing a rematch. They're 1-1-1 against each other, and Maynard told USA Today's John Morgan that he wants to close the Edgar chapter of his life with a fourth fight:

I’ve got to take care of Nate Diaz, but the goal is obviously to get the T.J. Grant bout again, the Frankie Edgar bout, and then get the lightweight belt. Even if I have to drop down a division to face Edgar.

You want to go out (up) 2-1. That’s the biggest thing, ending strong.

Maynard said he's even willing to drop to featherweight in an effort to put an emphatic stamp on his series with Edgar. 

I sure as hell would try. I wouldn’t be there for good, but I would be there for that fight. It just goes back to that in my mind, it’s all even. I don’t want it to end like that. He got the last one, but I don’t want it to end like that. If he beats me two out of three times, then alright. 

It is hard to imagine Maynard making the cut to 145 pounds. He is a gigantic lightweight and holds a size advantage over many of his opponents. The idea of Maynard shedding an additional 10 pounds seems impossible.

But unfinished business can be a strong motivator, and it's clear that Maynard is still bothered by the way his last two fights with Edgar went. He came so very close to beating Edgar in both fights. So close to capturing UFC gold, only to ultimately fall short.

But before Maynard can entertain ideas of dropping down for a final match with Edgar, he must get past Diaz at Saturday night's Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale. Then, and only then, can Maynard look to close the book on Edgar.