Frankie Edgar suffered the first knockout loss of what will almost assuredly be a Hall of Fame career at UFC 222 on Saturday night.
Edgar was caught by a crushing elbow courtesy of Brian Ortega in the opening round of their co-main event fight that turned the tide dramatically in what amounted to a featherweight title eliminator. Seeing that Edgar was hurt, Ortega quickly followed up with a barrage of punches on the ground to finish Edgar to get the knockout victory.
Following the fight, former featherweight champion Conor McGregor dropped a message for Edgar on Twitter to pay tribute to the long time contender at 145 pounds after his stunning knockout loss.
Of course, McGregor had claimed just recently that he actually offered to step in on short notice to face Edgar at UFC 222 but the promotion told him there wasn’t enough time to market the event for his return to action this quickly.
“Frankie’s career deserved for that to be against me tonight,” McGregor wrote.
“Respect Frankie. Love and respect always! A true fighters fighter.”
Frankie's career deserved for that to be against me tonight.
Love and respect always!
A true fighters fighter ❤
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) March 4, 2018
Edgar also received a message from the reigning featherweight champion Max Holloway, who he was supposed to face in the UFC 222 main event on Saturday night.
While the door isn’t shut on the two fighters facing off sometime in the future, Holloway gave Edgar a ton of credit for accepting the bout with Ortega, knowing what was on the line if he lost.
“You had nothing to gain from taking that fight, Frankie Edgar, but you took it, you defended what you already earned,” Holloway wrote. “There’s no belt for sacrificing everything but true fans and Jersey knows no belt can outshine what you bring to the sport. Chin up bratha.”
You had nothing to gain from taking that fight @FrankieEdgar. But you took it you defended what you already earned. There’s no belt for sacrificing everything but true fans and Jersey knows no belt can outshine what you bring to the sport. Chin up bratha
— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) March 4, 2018
There’s no telling what comes next for Edgar following this set back, although he has hinted in the past that he may still consider a drop down to 135 pounds before his career is over.