Frankie Edgar is unappreciated, overlooked, and underrated—just don't tell him that. The former UFC lightweight champion may not be getting as much publicity as his peers, but that's something that may be about to change at UFC 156. That's when Edgar will take center stage to square off against reigning featherweight champion Jose Aldo for a shot at the title, and a shot at history. If Edgar takes out Aldo he'll join legends, Randy Couture and B.J. Penn, as the only men to have ever held UFC belts in two divisions. But Edgar isn't about to get caught up in the moment, he's just prepping for his latest toughest challenge to date.
Edgar recently took some time from training, and wrestling with his two young sons, to go a few rounds with us about what it would mean to become a part of history.
Interview by Adam Silvers (@silversurfer103)
Dana White is calling this a “super fight.” You and Jose Aldo are roughly the same size, both in your primes, and both battling for deserved supremacy. What separates you from him?
We’re definitely different fighters, I think that’s the immediate separation. As far as who’s going to be the winner? That’s going to be determined on Saturday night. I think it’s going to come down to pace. He’s technical, I’m technical, we’ve both got well-rounded skills. I just have to push that pace.
Saturday will be nearly six years to the day since you made your UFC debut. What are some of your best memories? Worst moments?
Best memories, obviously winning a title for the first time. Probably my last fight against Gray Maynard where I was able to finish him for the trilogy. Those were definitely great moments. The worst moments are the losses, for sure.
Do you feel like you're underrated?
I don’t know, people keep saying that. I was a champion for almost two years, how can I be under-appreciated? I get a lot of attention, maybe not as much as a lightweight in BJ Penn or someone like that, but my time is coming.
Is Jose Aldo the best featherweight in the world?
Best pound-for-pound featherweight? Well, he’s the champion, so that would be him right now. But I’m planning on changing that.
What’s on shuffle in your iPod while you were training for this fight?
I’m into a lot of music, definitely a lot of rap. Dedication 4, the Lil’ Wayne album. Actually, I’ve been getting into some Swedish house music, the beat just keeps me going a little bit.
What are your hobbies outside of the octagon, away from MMA?
I got two young kids, so as much as I train a lot, free time is spent with my kids. I got two boys—ages two and four—they keep me busy.
If I win my next fight I take care of everything. I get the title, I get the legacy, I get to join the record books.
Aldo has 14 consecutive wins and has won 21 of his 22 pro bouts, is this going to be the toughest challenge of your career to date?
It’s tough to say. I think your next fight is always your toughest challenge to date. My first fight ever in mixed martial arts was my toughest fight to date, and the next fight is always going to be your toughest fight to date, it’s just how it works out. You’ve got to win your next fight if you want to advance your career, and it’s no different with this one.
What would it mean to you to join Couture and Penn as the only men to have ever held UFC belts in two divisions?
Just to be mentioned amongst two legends like that, it would be huge. It’s a feat that’s only been done twice in the 20 year UFC existence, so it kind of speaks for itself. As far as the history, it’s not something that’s bothering me. I’m kind of used to being in this position where there’s a lot on the line, and the way I always approach it is to just win my next fight. If I win my next fight I take care of everything. I get the title, I get the legacy, I get to join the record books.
How will you defend against arguably the game’s best leg-striker in Aldo?
It’s a lot of things. Keep my hands, close the distance, make him not want to kick, catch him for take downs. Do a lot of different things that we’ve been working on in camp, but I have to be able to utilize all of them, or at least one of them.
Are you going to borrow anything from your win over B.J. Penn back in 2010 for this fight?
I think I’m a different fighter, I’ve gotten a lot better since then. Just being able to show up and don’t expect me to win, but I have to make sure I focus for those 25 minutes and be on point. That’s what I have to do on Saturday.
Should you win on Saturday, do you ever think you’ll be overlooked or underrated again?
I’m sure it will help, but that’s not something I worry about. I perceive myself in my own mind, that’s what matters to me. Right before I’m just thinking about the task at hand, our game plan, just thinking about all the preparation that led me to this point.