UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar can be called many things. A remarkable fighter, the best 155lber in the world, and now he can add motivational speaker to his list of accolades.
On the eve of the New York Jets latest game against the Houston Texans, head coach Rex Ryan brought Edgar in to speak to his team as they prepared in the final moments before the game was at hand.
Edgar spoke to the Jets about mental toughness and relayed a story back to the squad about his famous 2007 win over Tyson Griffin in which he had to battle out of a last minute submission attempt by his opponent to secure the win.
The speech apparently paid off rather remarkably as the Jets were down to the Texans with just minutes to go in their game when quarterback Mark Sanchez led his team down the field and scored the winning touchdown with only :10 seconds remaining on the clock.
Following the game, Sanchez relayed back that Edgar’s words rang in his head during the game and helped inspire the late game comeback.
“The guy is barely taller than this podium, and this guy beat BJ Penn in a UFC Championship bout,” Sanchez said following the game. “Everybody counted him out. They wanted a rematch and he went back and beat him even worse. Talk about a guy who is mentally tough and physically tough. He came in and spoke to the team last night. It was a perfect time. He talked about never giving up, being counted out, playing until the end; fighting and believing in yourself and your team and the people around you. Those were the only one telling him he could win the fight. Everyone else was counting him out.
“I think there’s a lot of people who counted us out tonight and last week and the week before that. We just look at each other look at the guys wearing the Jets decals and we know we have a chance until the thing is over. It was perfect for Rex to bring in a guy like that and give us a little extra inspiration so it was great for Frankie to come in.”
Edgar is currently in preparation for his upcoming Jan 1 fight against Gray Maynard, in which coincidentally he is currently sitting as a slight underdog. Maynard is the only fighter to currently hold a win over Edgar in his pro MMA career.
During his talk with the Jets on Saturday, Edgar conveyed his thoughts about always having an undying belief in yourself, even when others seem to count you out. The New Jersey native will look to once again show that mental toughness and fortitude in January when he meets Maynard in Las Vegas.
Edgar sat in the stands during the Jets game on Sunday and was also greeted by another famous face around New Jersey as he sat beside former “Sopranos” star James Gandolfini, who attended the game as well.