It’s a pretty amazing feat what Frankie Edgar has been able to do fighting well out of his perceived weight class for his entire UFC career.
At five-foot-six and typically walking around at just over 155 pounds, Edgar’s run as UFC lightweight champion should be looked at as nothing but a huge accomplishment when gauging the success of smaller fighters in MMA.
Edgar’s career at 155 pounds was defined by him almost always being the undersized underdog and finding a way to win no matter what, but after his last fight against Benson Henderson, the decision was made to move to the featherweight division.
According to Edgar’s lead trainer and coach Mark Henry, he’s actually been urging the New Jersey native to make the drop for several fights going all the way back to his bouts against Gray Maynard in 2011.
“My input was when he was fighting Gray Maynard,” Henry revealed when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio. “The thing people don’t realize is Frankie’s going down to 145 and he’ll still probably be 12 pounds less than Jose Aldo. That goes to show you the amazing things that he’s been doing, he’s going down a weight class and he’ll still probably weight 12 pounds less. Jose weighs around 170, I think he’s said that himself. Frankie walks around at 157.”
Edgar lost his lightweight title to Henderson in early 2012, but because the fight was viewed as a controversial decision, the UFC opted to give him another crack at the belt and opponent. This time around the fight was even closer, but still Henderson came out on top.
Days later Edgar announced he was moving to 145 pounds. Most assumed it was because he had lost to Henderson twice and another title shot would probably be very tough to land. In reality however, Edgar was planning on moving down to featherweight all along, he just really wanted another shot at Benson Henderson.
“When we fought Ben, I don’t think anybody knows, but we were going to go down to 145 anyways,” Henry stated.
“It was 100-percent, you can even ask Nate (Diaz) and we saw Nate before the fight and we discussed how Frankie (was moving down). Kill whoever you’re fighting because we’re beating Ben, whoever you’re going to end up fighting we wish you luck and we’re going down.”
Now Edgar will start his new life at featherweight, but as his coach pointed out earlier, he’s still going to be giving up size to many of the fighters competing in that weight class.
It’s one of the reasons why Edgar is so revered because he’s able to compete against bigger, stronger fighters and still win. That doesn’t mean at some point in his career, Edgar wouldn’t enjoy being the bigger guy in the fight.
So it’s possible at some point in the future that Edgar could test the waters at 135 pounds if the right opportunity came along.
“We definitely have to worry about Jose now, that’s the only thing we’re thinking about. But I think he could be the first guy to win three belts,” Henry said.
“I think if it’s for history. I think if Frankie beats Jose, it’s hard to deny he’s one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. If he won three (titles), you can’t deny it. Anderson Silva is so close to Jon Jones’ weight, what are they 10 pounds different? Frankie’s fighting guys that are way heavier than him. If Frankie was to go for two belts or three belts, I don’t know how you would deny it.”
Right now the only focus for Edgar and his team is to capture the gold at 145 pounds and they know that won’t be an easy test. Featherweight champion Jose Aldo has been a very dominant titleholder that has dispatched of every contender he’s faced.
For argument’s sake, however, it’s fun to think about Edgar conquering featherweight and then at some point taking a shot at the bantamweight belt as well.
“Nobody’s ever done it. Weight-wise, it could be done, so it’s going to be in the conversation. You’re going to talk about it,” Henry said. “Especially greatness, you can do something nobody’s done and make history; it’s something you’re definitely going to talk about.”