by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
Frankie Edgar was quickly ascending to a lightweight title shot in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He had defeated top lightweight contender Tyson Griffin in his debut at UFC 67; a memorable fight that was easily a candidate for fight of the year. He went on to defeat Mark Bocek, and then dominated Spencer Fisher.
Everything was right on track… and then he ran into Gray Maynard.
Maynard controlled the fight with Edgar and won a unanimous decision over the New Jersey native. After the fight, many fans thought that Edgar looked small and felt he should move down to featherweight. He responded to the speculation recently on MMAWeekly Radio.
“It’s definitely an option,” said Edgar. “Obviously I’m fighting at 155. That’s where I’m staying for now. If I had won that fight, I’m sure no one would have said anything about me going to 145. It’s just how it goes.”
Although the loss deterred his potential shot at a title, it doesn’t mean that it is completely out of the picture. “The Answer” is looking to get refocused and make another run up to the top.
“You got to forget about it. You can use it for motivation. It’s easy for me to get up for fights. I’m a little more focused. I think that loss definitely made me focus a little more.”
The UFC recently announced a free Spike TV fight card to air on July 19 highlighted with Anderson Silva taking on James Irvin at 205 pounds in the main event. Edgar was also added to that card. He will take on Hermes Franca in his first fight back since serving a one-year suspension. Edgar was eager to get back in the Octagon as soon as possible to erase his last loss.
“I like to get in there right away. I originally tried to get on the July card, but they didn’t have anything for me. They told me I’d fight August 9 and then they bumped me up to July 19, so I was pretty happy about that.
“I’m always in pretty good shape. I found out five weeks out. I was already in fighting shape. I’ll be good to go,” he added.
His fight with Franca will be shown on the televised portion of the event. “It just shows that they have confidence in me and that I can put on good shows and good fights. I want to fight tough guys and Hermes is one of them.”
Franca was widely considered one of the top contenders in the lightweight division before his suspension. A win would have considerable implications in the lightweight title picture for Edgar. “I think this is a perfect opponent to get back where I was. I’m really glad that Hermes is my opponent I’m going up against this time,” he said.
Edgar is a strong wrestler, but was out-grappled by Maynard. He realizes that he’ll need more than high level pedigree in wrestling to become a champion in the UFC.
“I always train hard, but I don’t think that’s enough these days. Everybody trains hard. You got to be a complete fighter.”
Franca has been off for over a year and ring rust could play a factor in this fight. However, Edgar doesn’t think that will be the case and is prepared for the best Hermes Franca.
“I think my style is pretty high paced and pretty forward. Who knows? He could be better taking a year off and I’m sure he’s pretty hungry to get back in there. It’s going to definitely be a strategic fight, knowing that he can finish fights in many different places.”
A win over Franca could catapult Frankie Edgar right back into the title picture. Not looking past Franca, “The Answer” hopes to garner a future rematch against Gray Maynard, the only fighter that has defeated him.
“I absolutely would. I think everybody wants to beat up the person who beat them up once. I’m not going to go in there and ask for it right away. If it comes up in the future, I’ll definitely jump on it.”