When Frankie Edgar and Grey Maynard first met, it was on the under card of a “UFC Fight Night.” There wasn’t any fanfare, slick promotional videos or “Countdown” specials or even much media attention.
Maynard out-wrestled Edgar to a unanimous decision that night while Kenny Florian and Joe Lauzon fought in the main event (just think about that for a moment).
When they met again, it was in the main event of UFC 125. This time, Edgar was the reigning, defending UFC lightweight champion, having just dethroned longtime LW kingpin BJ Penn in back-to-back fights. Maynard was the unstoppable juggernaut/lay n’ pray artist of the LW division, plus he held that earlier win over the champ.
While their title fight was undoubtedly significant, it was viewed as something of a “dud” UFC PPV. Fans and media wondered if the taciturn Frankie and the unexciting Grey would generate enough interest to keep UFC 125 from bombing on PPV.
What a difference a fight makes.
When Frankie Edgar and Grey Maynard meet at UFC 130 for the third and presumably final time, it will be in one of the biggest UFC PPVs and most-anticipated title matches of 2011.
Their second fight—and first battle for the UFC LW crown—at UFC 125 was an early contender for Fight of the Year (really early when you consider it happened on January 1st).
In my opinion, that’s an honor it still holds. No fight so far this year has delivered as much drama and excitement as their five-round war, which fittingly (some would say disappointingly) ended in a split draw, about as inconclusive a finish as one can have in an MMA contest short of a doctor’s stoppage.
Luckily for fans, we get to see them do it one more time. The question for LW champion Frankie Edgar remains the same, however: Can he find a way to overcome the only man to ever best him inside the Octagon?
Now, the stakes are even higher, as Frankie’s record vs. Grey is 0-1-1.
For Frankie, this fight is everything. It’s his whole legacy, even more so then the Penn fights. Win, and he’s firmly planted at the No. 1 LW and one of the top fighters in all MMA. Lose, and he’s ejected from the LW title picture, possibly forever.
Can Frankie find “The Answer” to Grey Maynard when the men square off for the “three-match” in Las Vegas?
Here are five reasons why the pride of Toms River, New Jersey could surprise fans and critics, as he frequently does, and walk out of UFC 130 with five pounds of gold still strapped around his waist.