Frankie Edgar might be on the back nine of his career, but he’s still got plenty of top-level effort within him going into UFC on ESPN 15.
Edgar (23-8-1 MMA, 17-8-1 UFC), the former UFC lightweight champion and multi-time featherweight title challenger, drops to the bantamweight division for the fist time Saturday when he meets Pedro Munhoz (18-4 MMA, 8-4 UFC) in the main event, which takes place at UFC Apex in Las Vegas and airs on ESPN/streams on ESPN+.
With his 38th birthday coming up in October, Edgar currently sits on a two-fight losing skid and has lost three of four. That’s raised questions about whether this drop is a sign of desperation, but Edgar sees it more as a proving point. He’s been a top name at 155 and 145 pounds, and he thinks it would be telling if he can join a division like 135 pounds and immediately knock off a top name in Munhoz
“I’ve got a lot of questions where I’m at in my career as I’ve got a bit older,” Edgar told reporters, including MMA Junkie, during Wednesday’s UFC on ESPN 15 virtual media day. “I’m coming down in weight, and there’s questions about my abilities here. That’s why I want to go out there, not more so to prove anyone else (wrong), but prove to myself that I’m still a top dog in whatever weight class I fight in.”
Edgar has plotted a drop to bantamweight for the past two years, but for one reason or another it’s been delayed until now. He finally gets his chance and, with a win, would become the 11th fighter in UFC history to own wins in three weight classes.
That’s a nice feather in his hat, but a bigger achievement would be first to fight for UFC belts across three divisions. He said he’s being realistic and knows that might not happen right away, but beating someone of Munhoz’s stature in his debut would be a promising step in the right direction.
“I just got to worry about winning my fight Saturday,” Edgar said. “Winning has a way of taking care of things. Anything’s possible. Everything I’ve done in my career, it always puts the possibility there, and if they offer it to me I will take.
“Pedro’s been a stud in this weight class for a while; he’s got wins over a lot of the best guys. I’ve been fighting the best guys since Day 1 in the UFC, and I didn’t want that to change with this fight.”
Edgar said Munhoz is the “perfect fight” for him, and that’s why he wanted to stick with this matchup after a positive COVID-19 test for the Brazilian postponed them from their previously planned date on July 16. Edgar decided not to take a replacement opponent, and they managed to reschedule the fight as a main event.
Edgar’s only hurdle is making that bantamweight limit for the first time. He won’t know for sure how smooth it was until all the weight is off, but for the middle of fight week, he said the process is exactly as planned.
“It’s going good,” Edgar said. “It seems similar to ’45. I don’t anticipate any problems. I’m not all the way there yet, but it’s going smooth as it could possibly go.”