Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Halt any talk about Frankie Edgar moving down to the featherweight division. Fresh off his unanimous decision loss to Ben Henderson at UFC 144, the former lightweight champion says that he's staying right where he is, and that he wants an immediate rematch.
Known for his soft-spoken style outside of the cage, Edgar made probably the most impassioned demand of his career in a Wednesday interview on The MMA Hour. After noting that he had given rematches to both Gray Maynard and BJ Penn, he said that he expects the same treatment after a close loss.
"I'm saying it, and I'm saying it loud: I want my rematch," he said. "I'm not going to have these antics or play these games. I'm telling you want I want. This is what I want. I think it's fair. I think the fans want to see it. It was fight of the night. Listen, even if these guys want to see me get beat up, I do get beat up in a lot of my fights, even in the fights I win, so it’s win-win for everybody."
Just days after the conclusion of the bout though, Edgar has yet to hear anything yet from UFC brass regarding a return bout with Henderson. In the immediate aftermath of the event, UFC president Dana White seemed to indicate two things. First, that Henderson would likely defend his belt against Anthony Pettis in a bout that would be a rematch of their 2010 fight of the year. And second, that he would like Edgar to move down to 145 and face champion Jose Aldo.
Edgar took exception with both.
Though he acknowledged that Pettis' headkick knockout win against Joe Lauzon was impressive, he believes other factors weigh in his favor when it comes to a second fight.
"I think the rematch makes sense on several levels," he said. "Not only can UFC be good guys, I think I earned it. Economically, they’ve been investing money in me. I've been at the helm of this weight class for two years now. I think it just makes sense for them and obviously for me. Let’s do it."
But even if the UFC decides to move on from Edgar and offer a title match to Pettis or another lightweight, Edgar says he has no plans to shift downward and cut weight for the first time in his career. He noted that in his fight with the much-bigger Henderson, he had no size issues, and out-wrestled him, taking him down five times according to FightMetric statistics.
Additionally, fighting Aldo doesn't seem like a much better or easier proposition than facing the lightweight division's best. In Edgar's words, Aldo is also bigger than him, cutting more weight to get to 145 than Edgar does to make 155, so he'd still be at a size disadvantage.
Because of that, he'd rather stay where he's at, comfortable in the division that he ruled for nearly two years.
"I’m staying at 155," he said. "This is where I’m at right now. I still feel like I got a run left. I still want that title back."
Edgar didn't dismiss the possibility of eventually moving to the lower weight class, but said he would do it "on my own terms."
When it comes to the actual fight, Edgar feels like he won three of the five rounds, giving himself the first, third and fifth. In addition, he felt like he easily could have been awarded the second, saying he was winning the round for four minutes and 50 seconds before Henderson landed a damaging upkick that seemed to change the fight's momentum.
Four days afterward, he says the swelling around his left eye has subsided quite a bit and that he otherwise feels great physically. The remaining pain comes from knowing he may not get the opportunity he wants. But he's not going to 145, and he's not going away. Your move, UFC.
"That [rematch] is what I want," he said. "I think it’s right. I think I earned it. I’m not trying to put down Ben or any other contender, but I think I earned my spot to deserve this rematch."
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