It’s a classic scene in movie history.
As Russian Ivan Drago pounds away at Rocky Balboa, he simply can’t put him away no matter how much he punishes him. As he gets to his corner knowing that Balboa has taken his hardest shots, Drago is dumbfounded at what will put his opponent away.
“He’s not human. He’s a piece of iron,” said Drago.
Those words echoed through Frankie Edgar’s mind after the first round of his fight against Gray Maynard at UFC 125. The UFC’s lightweight champion took the best that Maynard could throw at him, and while he was knocked down, he was not out.
Edgar battled back in one of the gutsiest performances any mixed martial artist has ever displayed. The end result, however, wasn’t like Rocky IV, because the judges declared Edgar’s match with Gray Maynard a draw.
Just a few days removed from the fight, Edgar has only watched the fight once and it was with friends and family just to reflect on what went down in Las Vegas. He hasn’t gone as far as breaking down the fight footage to see what he did right or wrong, and even now he’s ready to move on from the night.
“It really doesn’t matter how much I say this, or he says that, it is what it is, we’re going to get to fight again. That’s the positive. Of course I’m looking at it, I’m biased; he’s looking at it, he’s biased. The third and fifth, I do feel like I landed more combos, in the third he did get the takedown, but I finished with a submission, so it was tit for tat, it was close,” Edgar told MMAWeekly Radio.
“At first I was disappointed, right away, cause that’s what I go in there to do, win. I thought I’d get my hand raised, and I didn’t. It’s a little bittersweet because it’s not a loss, but yet again, it’s not a win. Looking back afterwards and listening to my teammates, it was a great fight. It was great for the sport, it was great for the fans, but I still would have liked to get that ‘W’.”
Edgar will surely go back and watch the fight again at some point, but for now he’s ready to spend some time with his family and enjoy the holidays he missed during his training camp. That doesn’t mean he’s not mentally focused for the third fight with Gray Maynard, because he’ll be ready for the fight whenever the UFC calls.
“I’m trying to remove my whole self from this whole process right now just to try and get a little mental break, but you can’t,” Edgar admitted. “Just move on from our last camp, and just make sure I’m a better fighter the next time I step in there.”
When the fight with Maynard was over, Edgar along with his opponent were told that it would be final WEC champion Anthony Pettis getting the next crack at the UFC belt, and not a trilogy to settle things between the combatants at UFC 125. Hours later, UFC president Dana White had a change of heart, and decided Edgar vs. Maynard 3 just made sense.
“I think they made the right decision to have me fight Gray next,” said Edgar. “It was a razor close fight, ended in a draw, it was super exciting. I know it will sell well, why not do it again? It’s a little unfortunate for Anthony (Pettis), but I’m sure he’ll get a shot again.”
Edgar’s break probably won’t last long because he has a hard time staying out of the gym. With training partners and coaches all having fights coming up in the next couple of months, Edgar is a good teammate first and foremost.
As for the timing of a third fight with Maynard, Edgar hasn’t really thought about it much yet, but he knows it’s coming and he’ll be happy to get back in the Octagon and settle the score once and for all.
“I’m trying to do it right where my body gets sufficient enough rest, and mentally I’m all there, but I’m good,” Edgar said. “Two weeks before this fight I’m like ‘I feel good’ my body actually feels better towards the end of my training camp than when I start easing up a little bit. Usually, at the beginning of my training camp I’m thinking I can’t wait to get that week off, and by the end of my training camp I’m just like I can’t wait to keep training.
“We’ll see what the UFC wants, make sure my nose is all healed up, maybe May something like that.”
Edgar may have also picked up one other thing from his fight with Gray Maynard after mentioning Rocky IV. He might soon have to change his nickname from the “Answer” to “Iron Man.”