Mark Henry, coach for UFC star Frankie Edgar, has launched a staggering attack on featherweight champion Conor McGregor for fighting opponents who are smaller than him.
After beating Jose Aldo at UFC 194, McGregor clinched the featherweight crown and is now seeking to become the first competitor in the sport’s history to rule two divisions simultaneously.
Henry made it clear on his Instagram account he feels the Irishman has been trodden a cowardly path to date [sic]:
Unlike most of the 145 pd division that is upset you're going up [in weight], I'm not. I want to congratulate you on actually fighting men your own size. I mean walking 175-180 fighting at 155 takes a brave man.
When you say 99 % of people couldn't make the weight cut Conner makes to 145 you're right, because 99 % of the fighters aren't as scared as Conner to have to drop that much weight. Fear could will a man to do amazing things. Now why don't you drop the security blanket and leave the 145 pd belt and go full blown BIG BOY. Congratulations again....... Almost.
Henry rounds it off by saying Edgar “walked 156 when he won 155 title.” Here’s a look at the post from the coach, including the accompanying images:
For Edgar, McGregor moving up to lightweight is a bit of a sickener. After all, the American beat Chad Mendes emphatically in December 2015 to outline his credentials as a genuine challenger for the featherweight crown. But after McGregor floored Aldo in 13 seconds, the Irishman has set off quickly in pursuit of history.
As is evident by Henry’s post, McGregor’s decision to keep the featherweight crown while chasing lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, whom he’ll face at UFC 197 on March 5, hasn’t sat well with everyone. But the man that matters, UFC President Dana White, told UFC Tonight (h/t Michael Kelleher of Sky Sports) McGregor wants to “fight four times a year and defend both belts.”
If that does turn out to be the case, then perhaps things won’t be so bad for Edgar. Chamatkar Sandhu of MMA Junkie thinks regardless of what happens when McGregor faces Dos Anjos, Edgar will get his chance of challenging for the featherweight title at UFC 200 this summer:
Win or lose I'm thinking Conor McGregor will fight Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 on the biggest PPV of 2016. That's my bold prediction anyway.— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) January 12, 2016
Henry’s point about McGregor’s weight cut is an intriguing one. Before the weigh-in for UFC 194 and many other events, the Irishman has looked very gaunt on the scales. While it may not be the best thing for his health, getting down to 145 pounds makes him a massive featherweight, allowing him to enjoy major advantages in terms of reach and power.
Edgar would be a tough match for him, though. As Mendes found out to his peril, he’s a wonderfully rounded fighter and a brilliant mover. Having won five fights in succession, there’s no denying the 34-year-old deserves his chance at the title, too.
MMA Roasted had some fun with discussing Edgar’s prospects of getting a title shot:
The new EA Sports UFC 2 game is so realistic that no matter how many times you win with Frankie Edgar, he gets passed over for a Title Shot— MMA Roasted (@MMARoasted) January 5, 2016
Should McGregor be allowed to keep the featherweight belt while competing at lightweight?
For Henry and his man, it seems as though some patience is required. McGregor has moved the goalposts due to his sensational amalgamation of character and quality, and unfortunately for Edgar, the Irishman is going to call the shots for a while. But it seems inevitable this fight will happen this year.
Edgar definitely deserves a chance, and he’d be well within his rights to abstain from fighting until he gets his title shot. A showdown with McGregor at UFC 200 seems a safe bet at this juncture, and should he go up against the first man ever to walk to the cage with a title belt over each shoulder, that’d be a wonderful opportunity for Edgar to etch his name into history.