LOS ANGELES – Frankie Edgar vs. Urijah Faber doesn’t exactly have the same ring as Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre, but in the eyes of the former UFC lightweight champion it’s just as super of a fight.
When it was announced that Edgar, the one-time 155-pound title holder, would headline a bout with Faber for the UFC’s first trip to the Philippines, it was met with criticism. Much of the blowback on social media had people scoffing at the headlines that referred to the bout as a “superfight.”
But your take on what warrants dubbing something “super” matters not to Edgar.
“None of it matters to me. To me it’s a superfight,” the fighter told MMAWeekly.com. “If you look at the two most well-known, lighter-weight fighters in the past five, six years, it’s me, Urijah, [Jose] Aldo, B.J. Penn. If this isn’t a superfight, what is? I don’t get it.”
Edgar and Faber are scheduled to meet at featherweight at the UFC Fight Night card in Manila. While Edgar held the UFC lightweight title, Faber is a former WEC featherweight champion. Although the latter fighter has fought three times for a UFC belt, he has never held a division crown within the organization.
Fighters from lighter weight divisions, such as lightweight, featherweight and bantamweight, have been known to be smaller draws in the pay-per-view markets, reportedly pulling in anywhere from an estimated 120,000 to 500,000 buys. This combined with Faber and Edgar currently holding no titles likely contributes to the criticisms about superfight status.
“If two champions fought, I guess that would be deemed a superfight. If this is the second best thing,” Edgar said, referring to his upcoming fight with Faber, “I guess that’s what you call it – the second best thing,” he said while shrugging his shoulders.
Another contributing factor may also be the fighters’ places in the official UFC rankings. As of the time of this writing, Frankie Edgar is the No. 1 ranked featherweight, but Faber lags a bit behind, sitting as the No. 3 bantamweight. While the rankings have been questionable and faced criticisms of their own about integrity and voter ethics, the UFC continues to depend on them as a barometer for identifying the who’s who on its roster.
This isn’t to say that Edgar and Faber aren’t capable of putting on entertaining performances. Both fighters, regardless of the buyrate history, are routinely called upon to be in the co-main and main events of UFC fight cards. Manila, for example, will be Faber’s fourth main event in the organization, while Edgar will tally his seventh. So if that’s any indicator, they must be doing something right in the eyes of UFC President Dana White and other company executives.
And while some might question how “super” the fight is, Faber doesn’t doubt its size in the sport’s landscape. As he told a group of reporters last weekend at UFC 184, he just wants the “big fights” and a tilt with Edgar fits that mold.
“Right now, Frankie is a guy who, in my opinion, is probably one of the best pound-for-pound guys in the sport,” Faber said. “This is just a fight I’m excited for.”
Some fans don’t share Faber’s excitement, especially in an age when UFC fights happen almost every weekend, spawning moans about the oversaturation of the sport with watered down events lacking in name value. It’s a battle that the UFC will continue to endure, much like Edgar and Faber will the criticisms of being branded a superfight. And although the fight isn’t in Las Vegas and for a championship, it could potentially be a showdown that chooses the next contender for a title.
For Edgar, in the end, winning gold belts trumps superfight status.
“I don’t believe I’m the second best,” Edgar said. “When I get my opportunity, I’m going to get that title again.”
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