Much has been made about Frankie Edgar being an undersized lightweight. Despite his only loss, where he was outmuscled by the bigger Gray Maynard, it hasn't affected his ascension.
Saturday, April 10, at UFC 112, Edgar will challenge the No. 1 lightweight in the world, UFC champion B.J. Penn. Edgar is around a 5-1 underdog.
Truthfully, Edgar has nothing to lose and everything to gain in this fight. No one expects him to win this fight, besides maybe his team. However, that is not a discredit to him as a fighter. He is a very talented, well-rounded mixed martial artist.
It is a credit to his opponent, who is clearly one of the greatest fighters the sport has ever seen. B.J. Penn has been dominant against every lightweight challenger he has faced in the past few years. So dominant, in fact, that chances are if he wins the fight that it will be his last at lightweight. A former champion at welterweight, most expect Penn to move up in weight for bigger challenges.
If so, Penn would vacate his title, leaving a void for the top contenders to fill. Most likely a match between Kenny Florian and Gray Maynard would decide the vacant title.
Win or lose, Frankie Edgar has options.
There is no shame in losing to B.J. Penn. If Edgar can at least be competitive, he could easily get another title shot after a couple wins in the UFC. While lightweight is a very talented division, the list of title contenders is short. The winner of the possible Florian-Maynard match would need an opponent.
I would favor Edgar over almost any other present UFC lightweight in a bout against Florian or Maynard. He has a lot of value in the division.
Another option, a more likely one if he is not competitive against Penn, would be to drop down to a possibly more suitable weight at 145.
April 24, the WEC will hold its first pay-per-view event, headlined by the featherweight title fight between champion Jose Aldo, and former champ Uriah Faber. After that fight, there is no clear No. 1 contender for whoever wins that belt.
Edgar would be a giant name in the WEC and would not be fighting as the smaller man for the first time in his career.
When Jens Pulver made his drop to fight in the WEC, it was highly anticipated, and he had lost both of his fights in the UFC prior to the move. I would have to think a more prime elite level fighter would make much more noise in the sport.
If the WEC ever plans to do another pay-per-view event, they will need some fresh blood. Or maybe with a contender like Edgar, the UFC would finally decide to incorporate the 145 lb. division.
Either way, Edgar has options.