Edgar Expects a Super Performance in His Superfight
Frankie Edgar doesnít deal in what ifs. There are only absolutes, and itís that philosophy that has taken him from Toms River, New Jersey to the top of the mixed martial arts world.
So if youíre expecting him to wonder what would have happened if he had received the nod in either of his razor-thin UFC lightweight title fight losses to Benson Henderson last year, heís just not playing that game.
ďI think it was always in the back of my head to go down to 145 (pounds), but I really donít know if I won (against Henderson) would I have definitely gone down or not,Ē he said. ďMy teamís been trying to get me to go down for this Jose Aldo fight for a while, so even if I won, I think this fight would have happened eventually.Ē
ĎEventuallyí is one day away, and after spending over seven years at 155 pounds, a stint that included a nearly two year reign as UFC champion, Edgar is going 10 pounds south to face one of the sportís pound-for-pound best in Brazilís Aldo. On the line isnít just the UFC featherweight title, but the opportunity to join Randy Couture and BJ Penn as the only fighters in UFC history to hold titles in two different divisions. Perhaps more importantly, the few remaining doubters that have followed Edgar throughout his career may finally fall to the wayside, giving him the respect he hasnít just deserved, but that he earned.
ďI think thereís always gonna be doubters, no matter who you are,Ē said Edgar. ďIím sure Anderson Silva has some doubters and Jon Jones has his doubters, so theyíre always out there. But as I go on, I get more and more support. And for me, itís not so much that I was trying to shut people up or prove people wrong; Iím just a motivated person, I like to win, and thatís what I want to do. I want to be number one. Having that title for almost two years and then losing it, you miss it. You miss being called the champ and being considered the best guy in your weight class. And thatís whatís motivating me and thatís what Iím gunning for.Ē
Heís had plenty of time to get up a nice head of steam for the Aldo fight, which headlines UFC 156 in Las Vegas on Saturday, since the bout was originally scheduled for last October, two months after Henderson-Edgar II. An injury to Aldo postponed the bout to this weekend, but Edgar hasnít taken his eyes off the champion, not in a Rocky Balboa picture on the mirror way, but in a way that reminds him every day that this is the man standing between him and getting a title belt around his waist again.
ďIím definitely thinking about him every day, but not in an obsessive way,Ē he chuckles. ďItís just knowing that this is the guy Iím gonna be facing. And because I think of him, I donít need to put a picture up, and Iíve got a coach in Mark Henry who doesnít let me forget. (Laughs) He definitely keeps my mind focused on him and thatís just part of it. As soon as I find out who Iím fighting, theyíre on my mind day and night.Ē
In Aldo, Edgar has a lot to think about. The former WEC champion is unbeaten in his last 14 fights going back to 2006, and despite his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, he is known for his striking, which was most recently on display when he knocked out Chad Mendes in a single round in January of 2012. Even more specifically, heís known for debilitating kicks to the legs and body, something Edgar is well aware of.
ďYou have to address it,Ē said the 31-year-old challenger. ďThatís what Iím preparing for, and Iíve gotta make him not want to kick me. Iíve gotta do something, whether itís check it or get takedowns or return with a bunch of punches. Iíve got to make him not want to kick me. Itís something Iím aware of, but that canít be the full focus. Iíve got to go out there, do what I want to do, and fight my fight because if Iím worried about what heís doing all the time, Iíll never be able to get started myself.Ē
And just to make sure he is ready for Aldoís striking attack, two of Edgarís newest teammates, UFC lightweight Edson Barboza and bantamweight up and comer Marlon Moraes, know a little something about striking, particularly Muay Thai.
ďItís been huge,Ē said Edgar of the addition of the two Brazilians to his team. ďBarboza and one of his teammates whoís now one of our teammates, Marlon Moraes, are both very, very good Thai guys. Jose (Aldo), heís become a great Thai guy, but I donít think heís a natural Thai guy, and they come from that background, so I couldnít get a better look in that aspect of the kicking. The insight from these guys really helped me out and improved my game in leaps and bounds in that area.Ē
Donít expect a Muay Thai clinic from Edgar this Saturday though. Heís going with what got him here, and itís a mix of wrestling, boxing, cardio, and movement thatís hard to get a fix on before itís too late. At featherweight, Edgar insists that wonít change, even pointing out that as he makes his way to 145, his cardio is better and that he may even be a little faster than usual. And if he brings all that to the Octagon on Saturday, especially with Aldo coming off a year off due to injury, there could be some celebrating going on at the Jersey Shore this weekend.
ďIím gonna do what I do naturally,Ē he said. ďItís kinda good that the pace I like to fight at will be to my benefit being that heís been out for a year. I definitely want to go in there and test his mettle and see how he reacts to that long layoff.Ē
We already know how battle-tested Edgar is, and if he can push Aldo to the limit, this is a Superfight that will live up to its billing. But Edgar plans on going even further.
ďI plan on putting on a super performance, so I canít wait.Ē