For years, former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar has been plagued by questions surrounding his choice to fight at lightweight rather than featherweight. Unlike any of his contemporaries, he cuts virtually no weight to compete in arguably MMA's deepest division. That carries some advantages, but also puts him at the bad end of a rather significant size differential. In the wake of his back-to-back losses to UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson, questions about his decision to not cut weight have only intensified.
Edgar has thus far remained mum on his next move, but those close to him think his options are far more wide open than most observers realize. Mark Henry, Edgar's boxing coach, expressed dismay and disbelief at his study's loss to Henderson on Saturday. Yet, he also said the former champion has choices to make: he can not only go to featherweight, but bantamweight as well.
According to Henry, there is a misconception about Edgar. While most of the MMA community's focus is on whether or not Edgar will move to featherweight, Henry insists If the former champion wants to, a cut to bantamweight is just as doable.
"Maybe four years ago, we wanted him to fight at 135, 145," Henry told the SiriusXM Fight Club on Monday, "but there was no [weight] class [at that time] and I think at 155 he was champion, so he wanted to go down on his own terms."
"Me personally," Henry continued, "I'd like to see Frankie for like a year to take a rest on his back and his body to fight people at 135 to do what everybody in the whole MMA community is [doing] and suck him down to nothing, looking like their death the day of the weigh-in and fight people that weigh as much as him."
For now, though, Henry just wants Edgar to receive credit he believes the former Clarion University wrestler doesn't get for competing against significantly larger men. In a sport where weight cutting is rampant, Edgar is fighting and beating most men Henry believes are up to two weight classes larger than him - something no one else in the sport is doing.
"What he's doing now I don't think he gets enough credit for," Henry insisted. "You're talking about guys that weigh 155-160 - what he walks around at - even when he isn't training. Who's doing that? That would be like Ben [Henderson] fighting Anderson Silva. That'd be like Jose Aldo calls out Frankie and he walks around at 170, too. That'd be like him fighting George St. Pierre."
"He walks around and he's 157," Henry continued. "He comes back from Disneyland after his last fight or two fights ago and he's 157, 158 or 159. I don't think Frankie gets enough credit for what he's accomplishing and doing in MMA."
If Edgar decides to now cut weight in light of his recent UFC 150, he can gain those advantages. Like everyone else, however, Henry is uncertain of what Edgar will do and is waiting on his decision. In the interim, Henry is spreading the message that Edgar's future doesn't consist of options at one weight class, but two.
"I'd love to see him have three belts, three different weight classes and be the first ever to do it," he said. "That's what I'd love to see him do."