UFC 136 was a big event in terms of the future of the lightweight division.
It was finally going to establish the No. 1 lightweight in the world, unless you're one of those foolish enough to believe that it's Gilbert Melendez. It was also going to establish another top contender in Melvin Guillard after he easily disposed of Joe Lauzon.
Well, at least one of those things happened.
Frankie Edgar is now the clear man to beat in the lightweight division. He showed a ton of heart surviving yet another brutal first-round beating at the hands of Gray Maynard, going on to win the fight with a fourth-round knockout.
Perhaps what makes Edgar so compelling is that he is an everyman, someone not spectacularly physically gifted or untouchable. Essentially, he's our Rocky Balboa.
He is beatable, or so it seems.
He didn't display the dominance of a Jon Jones in his title defense, but he certainly won himself more fans. Edgar is even small for the weight class. He hardly cuts any weight and defeats fighters who outweigh him by 15 or 20 pounds on fight night.
Part of the reason why the lightweight division is so intriguing right now is the fact that there are several interesting matchups for the champion. Perhaps Edgar isn't the most dominant champion ever, but he's certainly one of the most entertaining. He may even be one of the first fighters capable of holding two belts in two different weight classes—considering a cut to featherweight would be very easy for him.
One of the biggest surprises of the night wasn't Frankie Edgar's win, but Joe Lauzon's. Melvin Guillard was on the fast track to a title shot, winning five straight before his loss to Lauzon.
Perhaps Lauzon has now thrown his name "into the mix" at lightweight if he can pull off another solid performance. A fight with Nate Diaz would be extremely interesting and would work out well in terms of timing.
With Gilbert Melendez heading over to the UFC and a long list of contenders including Ben Henderson, Clay Guida, Jim Miller and Anthony Pettis, the lightweight division should stay interesting for quite some time.
Donald Cerrone, Nate Diaz, Joe Lauzon, Evan Dunham and Rafael Dos Anjos may not be far behind, either.