He has the heart of a lion and the skills of a champion.
But Frankie Edgar also has just one victory in his past four bouts.
Going back to New Year's Day, 2011, Edgar has fought to a draw with Gray Maynard, finished Maynard, and lost a pair of decisions to Henderson.
One can debate these decisions all day. From where I sit, the draw with Maynard was basically a textbook example of what a tie in MMA should look like; the only people still trying to claim with a straight face that Edgar won the first Henderson fight are those with a New York/New Jersey worldview; and Saturday night, I had Edgar winning the bout 49-46.
Live by the decision, die by the decision.
Edgar has a decision of his own to make. There are plenty of fighters at lightweight who have been winning fights in an impressive manner at 155 pounds, such as Nate Diaz, who is getting the next title shot, and Donald Cerrone, whose only loss in his past nine fights was to Diaz. Neither fighter should take a backseat in the divisional pecking order to one with a .250 winning percentage since the start of last year.
If Edgar wants to stay at 155 pounds, no one is going to begrudge him the decision. But if he does so, he's simply going to have to get back in line.
The idea of Edgar going down to featherweight is nothing new. As far back as 2007, on the heels of what was considered an upset win over Tyson Griffin at UFC 67, it was suggested Edgar move to the WEC and go after then-featherweight champion Urijah Faber. Edgar stayed at lightweight and proved everyone wrong.
The decision is his to make.
UFC 150 Notes
UFC president Dana White has been denying for awhile now that there are too many fight cards on the schedule. But Zuffa brass is well-tuned to market conditions, and nothing screams "too many shows" like a $650,000 gate on a major title rematch for a card with hometown fighters in both of the co-feature bouts. A week after getting four straight sensational fights for free, fans were asked to pay $50 for a card which featured Buddy Roberts, who doesn't belong on a PPV main card at this point in his career, and Max Holloway vs. Justin Lawrence, which, at best, is a TUF Finale-level fight. This has been a year of transition for the UFC as the company feels out its new relationship with FOX and its various properties. The UFC doesn't need to do anything drastic, but limiting PPV's to one per month, and scaling back the number of monster 12-fight cards and whittling down to maybe nine fights per evening except on special occasions would go a long way toward restoring fight-card depth.
UFC 150 Quotes
"I had it even through four." -- UFC president White, who wouldn't bite on who he thought won the Henderson-Edgar fight.
"I've got to try and control my emotion. When I fight out of emotion it doesn't add up too well. So I'm going to just stay away from all the crap talking. The fight's going to be signed so sign, train hard, and I'll see you when I see you. Other than that, we don't need to talk about it, right?" -- Cerrone, reeling in the rhetoric on his next opponent, Anthony Pettis
"God bless him. It should be a fun fight. I know he likes to go into his fights getting guys worked up in the head a little bit and stuff, so you know, his camp, everyone involved in that 209 stuff, you know, God bless ‘em. My hat's off to him, he's a tough fighter." -- Henderson on Diaz.
To Cerrone and Melvin Guillard, for promising fireworks leading up to their fight and then delivering. UFC 150 was entering the danger zone with Yushin Okami's one-sided win over Roberts and Jake Shields and Ed Herman's snoozefest running back-to-back. But Cerrone and Guillard brought the crowd back to life with one of the most memorable brief brawls you'll ever see. Oh, and how about a little love for Jackson's MMA? The camp gets raked over the coals every time one of their fighters puts on a dull fight, but none of the credit for fights like this.
Before we get to the obvious one, let's give a shout-out to both Jared Hamman's corner, who let him continue when he clearly shouldn't have; and to the referee of his bout with Michael Kuiper, Adam Martinez, who apparently felt his role was akin to the "Finish Him" guy in Mortal Kombat.
With that out of the way, let's get to the scoring Henderson-Edgar. I scored the bout the same way Tony Weeks did: Round 1 to Henderson, and rounds 2-5 to Edgar. The other judges, Dave Hagen and Mark Van Tine, gave the champ Rounds 1, 3, and 4.
I have no quibble with anybody giving Henderson round three. It was that close. But, for the love of God, what were they watching in round 4? I was going to suggest perhaps their monitors had a replay of the Patriots destroying the Broncos in last year's playoffs instead, but then, they would have awarded the Broncos the game. Edgar scored a takedown in round four, got Henderson in a guillotine choke, and toward the end, even got the better of the exchanges as Henderson taunted him. And Henderson got the call in that round? Words fail me.
UFC 150 started off with a string of impressive performances. Lentz looked like a whole new fighter at 145 pounds, as he smoked veteran Eiji Mitsuoka. Camus, a Duke Roufus product, dropped the first round to Pague and then used a well-rounded game to win rounds two and three and take the decision in his UFC debut. And Perez showed power in setting the bantamweight record with a 17-second knockout of Ken Stone. Those are three different ways to make an undercard impression.
Stock Down: Ed Herman
Saturday night represented Herman's last, best chance of distinguishing himself in the pack at 185 pounds. Herman was the winner of three straight fights since returning from a knee injury, all via finish. He was elevated to the co-main event and facing a well-known name in Jake Shields. But he went out and laid an egg, putting in a head-scratching performance by willingly playing Shields' game and coming out on the wrong end of a one-sided decision for it. It doesn't get easier from here: Herman turns 32 in October and the middleweight division isn't getting any less tough.
Fight I Want To See Next: Frankie Edgar vs. Chad Mendes
First off, my first pick here was going to be Cerrone vs. Pettis, but we're apparently already getting that one, which should be one of the most anticipated co-main event bouts of late 2012. So with that taken care of, I'm going to go ahead and book Edgar's first featherweight bout for him. White made it clear Edgar wouldn't get an immediate title shot, and Chan Sung Jung gets the winner of Aldo vs. Eric Koch, so a bout with the ultra-tough Mendes would be as a good starting point for a "new" Frankie Edgar as any.