As exciting as their last go around was Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard are ready to move on and fight someone different.
Having to prepare for weeks on end on four separate occasions – their third bout was postponed once just prior to fight time – will do that. But each is ready for their headlining fight at UFC 136 on Saturday night in Houston.
“You try not to get sick of it because we’re so close to the end, you wanna keep that focus. It’ll be nice to put him in the rear view,” Edgar told MMAWeekly Radio recently. “It’ll be nice to get different challenges ahead of me.”
There’s no doubt about Maynard being Edgar’s biggest challenge to date. In the two times that they have fought, Maynard won the first by unanimous decision, and at UFC 125 in January they fought to a memorable five-round draw.
Maynard had Edgar rocked in their second battle, knocking him every which way but out, only to have Edgar scratch and claw his way back into the fight, pushing it to the limit. There’s got to be something said for that, because Maynard threw everything he had at Edgar, but was still unable to close the deal.
“I’m not in Gray’s head, but I’m sure that could mess with somebody. He threw everything at me but the kitchen sink and he hit me with good shots, a bunch of good shots, and I was able to bounce back,” Edgar commented. “I don’t know if that gives me a definite mental edge, but it’s nice to know that I can take his best and keep coming.”
Aside from being able to weather the best that Maynard could muster in their second bout, Edgar has a knack for building on his past performances and come back stronger.
He outlasted BJ Penn to capture the UFC lightweight title in their first fight then dominated their rematch.
Edgar may have lost the first fight with Maynard, then had to go the distance to hold on to his belt with a draw, so that means he should take the third one; right?
Of course, both fighters think they can win. They wouldn’t be in the Octagon if they felt otherwise. But Edgar really wants to take this fight up a level and leave no doubts, especially against the only fighter that he’s been unable to beat.
“I know Gray has been my biggest challenge to date, and I would like to put a stamp on it with a really decisive win and shut up all the naysayers.”