All this talk of Frankie Edgar and rematches makes for a potentially uncomfortable situation brewing in Denver. What if Edgar wins a close fight over Benson Henderson this weekend at UFC 150? What if it’s an egregiously controversial decision, the kind that has Dana White fuming about the judging and Twitter exploding into a million little protests?
If it’s indistinguishably close in Edgar’s favor, will not Henderson have the same argument that Edgar did in requesting an automatic rematch?
Fair is fair is fair.
As absurd as the notion seems, it’s a legit question. Everybody knows that Edgar adjusts and adapts and comes on stronger in repetitions. In his recent history of rematches he’s always showed better the second time through. In trilogies, Edgar is 1-0 with a knockout of Gray Maynard (who never gets knocked out). Though he’s navigated his career as a bargain bin underdog, he brings it doubly in playbacks. He’s being slept on a little bit ahead of the Henderson sequel, too. Bendo’s too big, too athletic, too strong.
And you know what? Edgar’s right at home with that.
Before that late second round upkick at UFC 144, Edgar was very likely leading two rounds to none over Henderson. In the rarified altitude in Denver, where the championship rounds are being contested, it might be Edgar pushing the action at the end. He’s been training in Colorado Springs at around 6,000 feet for the last week to acclimate. That doesn’t hurt. If he pulls out a close fight, the UFC will be in a familiar situation with what’s right, and what’s right.
It sets up double standards, and it will force hands. It’s simply not ideal.
And we all know what Dana White would have to do -- he’d have to essentially snub his nose at Henderson, or else leave the lightweight division hijacked for another four months (at least). Worse, be upsetting Nate Diaz, who is in the on-deck circle waiting for the winner after beating Jim Miller, not to mention all the guys hovering just below -- guys like the winner of Donald Cerrone/Melvin Guillard and Anthony Pettis. Traffic must resume, or we need to strip Edgar of his nickname “The Answer,” and use something more apt.
Something like Frankie “The Series” Edgar. Or perhaps “The Monkey Wrench.”
The UFC doesn’t actively root for any situation, but here’s a hunch that life would be easier if Edgar were to drop out of the picture for a little while. As the world’s smallest lightweight, he’s an unlikely elephant in the room. If he loses, he can begin contemplating how to overcome Jose Aldo in the featherweight ranks. Aldo could use some new challenges, and Edgar/Aldo is fun to think about (even over the course of a series). Just about everybody's on board with that.
And White himself has been the ringleader for Edgar competing at 145 pounds. He’s said it on more than one occasion. An Edgar loss on Saturday night facilitates the move, and it opens up the 155-pound division for business again.
It’s Edgar’s job to ignore all of this and do what he does best, which is to win the fights people just assume he’ll lose. The UFC will obviously let the chips fall where they may, but if it’s Edgar, you can understand the hope being that it’s Edgar clean and emphatically.
Otherwise, things will get that much more complicated.