Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Days after UFC 144's controversial lightweight championship, proverbial lines in the sand have begun to be drawn. For his part, Edgar made his opinion clear when he atypically demanded a rematch on Wednesday's episode of The MMA Hour.
White, however, isn't as convinced. Having just resolved a two-year traffic jam in the 155-pound division, he prefers Edgar to drop down to his natural weight class of 145 pounds, and he's willing to sweeten the pot to get him there.
"Absolutely, (Edgar) walks straight into a title shot," White declared during Wednesday's UFC on FX 2 press conference.
"If I'm going to deny him the rematch for the 155-pound title, and I'm going to make him move to 145 and say, ‘Yeah, you're gonna have to fight a couple fights first to get the title.' Does that sound right? No."
Of course, White's protests are nothing new. The UFC President has long desired Edgar at featherweight, but after a slew of championship performances, he ran short of visual evidence that lent credence to his claims.
Even in the immediate aftermath of Saturday night, it appeared Edgar had again proven himself correct. Both White and UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta said they scored the fight in favor of the former champion, though apparently that sentiment has now changed.
"Sitting there that night, I thought Frankie Edgar won the fight. And then Lorenzo (Fertitta) flew back to Las Vegas. He texted me yesterday, said ‘I re-watched the fight,'" White revealed.
Obviously Edgar vehemently disagrees, and he has steadfastly remained opposed to a fight against 145-pound kingpin Jose Aldo. So with the lightweight division seemingly at an impasse, even White is unsure where to go from here.
"That weight division is so stacked, and there's so many guys in line." he hesitantly explained. "I have a lot of different feelings about the rematch. First and foremost, I feel like Frankie Edgar absolutely deserves one, seeing as how every fight this guy's fought, he's given everybody else a rematch.
"Yet, I don't want him to fight at 155-pounds. I want him to go to 145 and fight for that title. Plus if we do give him a rematch, it clogs up (the division). There's other guys that are in line waiting. It's a big mess."
For now, White's unwillingness to put the division on hold appears to be most telling.
Although there may also be a surprising ulterior motive at play. One that lies not in Edgar's fighting ability, but with his long-term health and longevity.
"This guy's fighting with 155-pounders, guys that are cutting from 170-plus, and they're always so much bigger than him. The guy has absolute wars and pulls out decisions that are so controversial every time," White concluded.
"Take the whole fighting thing out of it, this guy belongs at 145-pounds. When you're a professional fighter, you have a small window of opportunity as it is to compete and be a professional athlete. There's only so many wars you have in you. You can't have this long amazing career fighting wars all the time, so I don't know. This whole thing is a nightmare and we'll see what happens."
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