Former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar will compete in a non-title fight for the first time since 2009 when he faces Charles Oliveira on the UFC 162 main card on Saturday. He believes fighting a three-rounder instead of five rounds could force a welcome change his approach.
“It’s a blessing in disguise, I feel like, coming back to a three-round fight. It’s going to make me get out of the gun early and make sure, first round, I’m in his face and I’m in the rhythm that I like to be in fourth and fifth (round),” Edgar told UFC.com.
Oliveira (16-3, 1 no contest) has logged submissions in all four of his UFC fights, earning Submission of the Night honors twice.
“He’s tough. He’s dangerous. Probably the tallest guy I may have ever fought. He’s got pretty good Muay Thai. He mixes it up well with kicks, knees, elbows. He’s got a slick submission game. He’s willing to go from broke to go for submissions,” said Edgar about his opponent.
Edgar plans to utilize his striking against Oliveira and believes his takedown defense will be a key factor.
“For him to be able to take the fight to the ground, he has to be able to take me down. As long as I can defend takedowns pretty well, I can keep the fight standing or I can end up on top,” he said.
“My biggest concern is just making sure you show up and do everything you did throughout the training camp, all the preparation that you prepared to do, and put it to work and make it all work for you,” said the 31-year-old former champion. “I will defeat Charles Oliveira.”