A win won't likely keep Edgar at lightweight

August, 10, 2012
8/10/12
8:46
AM ET
McNeil By Franklin McNeil
ESPN.com
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No matter the outcome Saturday night, it’s very likely Frankie Edgar will take his talents to the featherweight division.

While Edgar is determined to reclaim the 155-pound title belt from Benson Henderson at UFC 150 in Denver, he refuses to rule out a mega-fight with current 145-pound champion Jose Aldo.

“It’s tough to look ahead when I have the biggest fight of my career coming up,” Edgar recently told ESPN.com. “The next fight is always the biggest of my career. And I have the biggest fight of my career right around the corner.

“I’m not looking past Aug. 11. I’m sure that on Aug. 12, my mind will be racing toward other things, but right now I’m just focused on Ben Henderson.”

Edgar reiterated his position Thursday during the final UFC 150 prefight news conference.

“I’m obviously not thinking about [going down to featherweight] right now,” he said. “[Aldo’s] fight is more than two months away [Oct. 13 against Erik Koch at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil]. All I’m thinking about is Ben.”

Edgar can maintain all he wants that his mind is solely on Henderson. But it’s hard to imagine that images of a meeting with Aldo don’t creep in on occasion.

They have to: Edgar’s days of fighting much larger men are surely coming to an end. UFC president Dana White is all but demanding that Edgar pick on guys his own size. White is so adamant about Edgar dropping to featherweight that he’s already ruled out a rubber match with Henderson, even if Edgar is victorious on Saturday.

It took a lot of convincing from Edgar to get this rematch with Henderson.

“I don’t think so,” White said Friday when asked about a possible third fight between Henderson and Edgar. “Frankie Edgar is a special individual. This kid has so much heart and talent, the list goes on and on. I have a lot of respect for him.

“When this whole thing was going down, I was very public that I wanted him to move down a weight class. He didn’t want to. “He wanted this fight so bad with Henderson again. I literally was in New York and he came out and met with me and I said, ‘you know how I feel; I want you to move down a weight class.’”

In the past, Edgar has emphatically dismissed the notion of dropping to 145 pounds. That’s not the case today, as he seems to be warming to the idea. Besides, there are big fights awaiting him at featherweight, most noticeably a mega-clash with Aldo.

An Edgar-Aldo showdown has all the elements of an exciting bout: Edgar’s speed, elusiveness, boxing and wrestling against Aldo’s power and devastating kicks. Even more important, fans will get to witness Edgar fight in his natural weight class. He is a featherweight who has been beating up lightweights for too long. We get it; Edgar can beat up bigger guys.

But in his three most recent outings -- a draw, win and loss -- Edgar has taken absorbed brutal punishment from much larger men.

Edgar’s recent battles are the type that shorten a fighter’s career. He’s only 30 years old, in his fighting prime. Edgar has many more good fights left him if he does the right thing and moves down.

But it appears Edgar won't have a choice, whether he reclaims the lightweight title or not.

“I don’t think Dana wants to do another rematch; I don’t want to do another rematch,” Edgar told ESPN.com. “We’ll see what happens.”

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