There is a commercial currently running on networks all over the world previewing UFC 156 that brilliantly denotes champion Jose Aldo’s seeming invincibility followed by challenger Frankie Edgar saying, “I’ve heard this story before.”
The UFC’s marketing team knows their fighter well because, despite spending nearly two years as the promotion’s lightweight champion, Edgar never knew life as a betting favorite.
Both times he met B.J. Penn and Gray Maynard, Edgar was the underdog. Despite opening as a slight favorite against Benson Henderson for their first fight, the odds continued to slip as the champion once again took on the role of underdog.
So it’s no surprise as he heads into his fight at UFC 156 against featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo that Edgar is again a decided underdog, but at this point in his career, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I don’t think I have been in a fight where I have been the favorite,” Edgar told MMAWeekly Radio. “For me this is just what I’m used to. It’s my normal role. I’m going to come here and I’m going to show up for a fight. There’s never been a fight I haven’t been prepared for and I haven’t showed up for, and it’s going to be no different come Feb. 2.”
Edgar performs better under pressure than maybe any fighter on the UFC roster. Ask Gray Maynard about that because twice the lightweight contender had Edgar on wobbly legs, seemingly out on his feet, only to watch the New Jersey native battle back and stave off elimination.
It’s part of the training and work ethic that Edgar has had instilled in him ever since he was a kid. Growing up, Edgar never had it easy. Before he found fighting, he was well on his way to becoming a permanent fixture as a plumber working long hours alongside his father.
Edgar knows that nothing comes easy, and so he’s willing to put in the work to get ready for Jose Aldo as well.
To prepare for the UFC’s reigning featherweight champion, Edgar has pulled out all the stops, making sure nothing is left to chance. He even managed to bring in two top level Muay Thai fighters from Brazil to mimic Aldo in his training camp.
Fellow UFC fighter Edson Barboza, who had success in kickboxing as well as MMA, served as a shadow for Aldo in Edgar’s camp, along with World Series of Fighting bantamweight Marlon Moraes, who recently defeated former WEC champ Miguel Torres.
“It’s been a blessing for sure. (Edson) is phenomenal, and actually Marlon Moraes, his friend from Brazil who is also an excellent Muay Thai practitioner, so between the both of them, I’ve definitely going to be more than prepared for Feb. 2,” said Edgar.
On that night, Edgar not only has a chance to become featherweight champion, but he also has the chance to join Randy Couture and B.J. Penn as the only UFC fighters who have held title belts in two different weight classes. It’s something historic to think about, but the one person who won’t even discuss it is Frankie Edgar.
Edgar is appreciative of any accolade he earns, but the fact is he’s never been the guy to sit around and say he’s the best, or act like the world owes him something. He is happy just putting his head down, keeping his nose in the fight, and let the history books write themselves without a running commentary from him.
It’s part of who Frankie Edgar is deep down inside – a hard worker who would rather show you why he’s one of the best in the world as opposed to tell you about it. Of course, that doesn’t mean he’s a pushover by any means, and he plans on showing Jose Aldo that at UFC 156.
“That’s the way I’ve always been. I was always told growing up the loud mouth, the big mouth, is not the guy you have to worry about, you have to worry about the quiet guy. I guess that stuck with me,” Edgar stated.
“I will say this: don’t mistake my kindness for weakness, because I definitely bring it every fight, and it’s going to be no different on Feb. 2.”