Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Aldo injury opens Edgar's emotional wound
By Franklin McNeil
Cue the black cloud: Frankie Edgar's luck went from bad to worse in a matter of a month.
What an emotional ride former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar has been on the past few weeks.
One month to the day that his bid to reclaim the 155-pound title fell short, Edgar learned on Tuesday that a foot injury ousted featherweight champion Jose Aldo from their UFC 153 title showdown.
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“It’s really been an emotional roller coaster this past month,” Edgar told ESPN.com shortly after receiving the news about Aldo’s injury. “I’m just kind of taking it as it goes.”
After five rounds of action on Aug. 11, Edgar appeared to have regained the lightweight strap Benson Henderson lifted from him in February. But two of the three judges scored the UFC 150 main event for Henderson, to the dismay of Edgar and nearly everyone else at Pepsi Center in Denver.
Before the Henderson rematch, Edgar hinted at possibly dropping to featherweight. UFC president Dana White had been trying to convince Edgar for more than a year to make the move downward. It was a difficult sell. But the more White talked, the more Edgar listened -- even while still holding the 155-pound title.
Despite showing signs of softening his stance on dropping down a weight class, Edgar never wavered in his belief that fighting at lightweight -- against naturally larger guys -- was where he belonged.
Even losing two in a row to Henderson wasn’t enough to seal the deal on a future at featherweight. Then Aldo said he’d welcome Edgar to 145 and gladly send him back to lightweight without a title.
One thing no fighter should ever do is provoke Edgar; don't tell him what he can't accomplish. If Aldo wanted a fight with Edgar, he didn’t have to try hard to get it.
One in-your-face comment was all it took to convince Edgar the time had come to show Aldo and every other featherweight the impact he could have in their division.
Edgar, still bummed from the rematch loss to Henderson, was preparing to make his featherweight debut sometime later this year when word came from UFC officials that Erik Koch suffered an injury and had to pull out of his Oct. 13 meeting with Aldo.
The fight was now Edgar’s if he wanted it. Edgar immediately accepted -- and after a couple of weeks of feeling blue, he was on an emotional high again.
Then Sept. 11 arrived, one month to the day after two judges declared he didn’t do enough to reclaim the lightweight belt, and Edgar gets news that Aldo is out.
“I’m pretty bummed right now,” Edgar said. “I was actually working out. My workout got interrupted with the news.
“It was the fight I was really, really excited for.”
Edgar’s feelings are too raw at the moment to begin contemplating his next move. The recent development, however, doesn’t have him questioning his decision to drop to 145.
“I don’t know,” Edgar said. “I’m going to wait and talk to Dana and see what he’s thinking and then come up with the next move. I really can’t say what’s going to happen until Dana and I speak.
“I kind of made my mind up that 145 would be my next fight before I had this fight with Aldo. So I’m still pretty set on 145 as of right now.”