LAS VEGAS -- Frankie Edgar has been knocking on the door of a title fight for nearly two years. On Friday night, he erased any remaining doubt.
Edgar knocked out Chad Mendes with a stunning two-punch KO in less than three minutes at The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale, cementing himself as the unquestioned No. 1 contender in the featherweight division with the best performance of his nine-year UFC career.
"Sometimes you've got to go out and you've got to put the stamp on it, man," UFC president Dana White said at Friday's post-fight press conference. "He put the stamp on it tonight. We had the (Urijah Faber) fight in the Philippines. That thing wasn't a barnburner, and I wanted Frankie to take this fight with Chad. And he put the stamp on it tonight.
"Nobody can deny Frankie anymore. He looked amazing tonight, and he'll get whatever he wants."
The performance likely brings an end to the frustrating limbo that Edgar has existed within since his narrow 2013 loss to UFC champion Jose Aldo. That fight was Edgar's first at 145 pounds, and he has since beaten five straight opponents, several of whom were promised a title shot if they had gotten through the former lightweight champ.
"I just feel like I've been knocking on this door for this title for a while," Edgar said. "Dana never told me that if I won a fight, I was going to get it. But I know he told some other guys that if they beat me they were going to get it. So I assumed that if I beat them, you know, MMA math, I should get it, right? But I knew if I kept just putting myself in this position, then I couldn't be denied. And here I am. I got it."
For Edgar, the timing couldn't have been more perfect. Aldo and interim champion Conor McGregor are slated to settle their blockbuster rivalry on Saturday in the long-awaited main event of UFC 194. Barring an immediate rematch between the two, Edgar will be the next man in line. And the way he sees it, regardless of who wins, they'll only be holding the belt until its rightful owner can claim his place among the few two-division champions in UFC history.
"It'd be nice to take it from Aldo, since he's been on top so long and we had that close fight and he got the ‘w,'" Edgar said. "But then again, McGregor is the big money fight. So for me, it's win-win.
"They knew I was coming, and now I just solidified it. No matter what happens, I'm going to be knocking on that door, and they're going to answer it and they're going to see me, because I'm coming for that title."