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Fightweets: Where does Frankie Edgar go from here?

Esther Lin photo

The UFC swings back into action Saturday with UFC on FOX 20 in Chicago. But we're still wading through the aftermath of all the monumental news made in the first half of this month, so let's take a crack at everything from the latest USADA-related news to Frankie Edgar's future after his loss to Jose Aldo Jr.

Questions for 'The Answer'

@joaovxavier: Should Frankie Edgar be headed to bantamweight?

I'm glad you asked this, because the plight of the former UFC lightweight champion in the wake of his UFC 200 loss to Jose Aldo Jr. was one of the more relevant topics which got drowned in the tsunami of major news items coming out of International Fight Week.

Fortunately, Aldo saw fit to bring Frankie back into the news this week, when he did that Jose Aldo thing where he makes an outrageous statement to the Brazilian media, then, after it becomes a big news item, he claims either he was somehow mistranslated by his fellow Portuguese speakers or that he was just kidding (and anyway, did Aldo really need a spy to know that Edgar was going to use Aldo's kicks to set up his takedown attempts?).

Now that we're talking Aldo-Edgar again, let's loop back to what their UFC 200 fight means: Where does Frankie go from here? As of now, he's in a holding pattern. If Conor McGregor ever decides to actually return to featherweight and defend his title, a unification bout with interim champ Aldo is in order. And if McGregor were to win in this scenario, there's still no guarantee he doesn't go chase after another money fight outside the division, meaning Edgar's not necessarily next in line after Aldo.

If Aldo wins this expected McGregor rematch, there isn't going to be a ton of demand for Aldo-Edgar 3 after Aldo won their second fight more decisively than he won the first time.

So the only real path to a 145-pound title shot in the next year or so would seem to be if either McGregor or Aldo had to drop out of their presumed eventual title fight due to an injury and the UFC needed a late replacement. Beyond that? Edgar is 34 and has a lot of miles on the tires for his age. And he's obsessed with becoming a multi-weight class champion.

Edgar was someone who didn't cut weight to get to 155, barely cuts to get to 145, and has said as recently as last summer that he didn't rule out the idea of making the drop eventually. And given his star power and the way the UFC books fights these days. He'd likely to get a consequential fight in the division from the get-go, if not put straight into a title fight.

I don't blame Edgar for taking his time making a decision, but at least as things stand now, a drop to bantamweight should at least be one of his options.

Tainted supplements

@dpop2: Do u think this tainted supplement excuse/reason for failures is no longer going to be accepted?

So I don't know about you, but by about midweek this week, after our 17,859,429th recent USADA-related headline, not only did my eyes start to glaze over, but I found myself looking forward to the RIZIN open weight tourney just for the sheer guilty pleasure of it.

By this stage of the game, though, a few things are clear: Tainted supplements are indeed a thing, and can be a legitimate mitigating circumstance, as the cases of Yoel Romero and Tim Means and their reduced suspensions attest.

But USADA's clunky handling in the way it makes potential violations public -- by announcing them, pending a full hearing, without releasing the substance for which the athlete tested positive (for valid right of privacy concerns) -- has created a way for those who were caught and are actually guilty of something to divert attention from the news, either by feigning complete surprise, or claiming it had to be something in a supplement. By the time the substance is revealed, the initial wave of news interest has already passed.

All in all, USADA has been a good thing for the sport. But between cases like Romero and Means and the way things panned out with both the Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar test results, it's clear USADA still has a learning curve with mixed martial arts and the sport simply doesn't fit other sports' cookie cutter. I don't have a good answer as how to improve the process off the top of my head, I just know that USADA needs to do better.

Fight night

@jrcasmir518: Most interesting fight for #UFCChicago

What, you actually want to talk about fights? What a crazy concept. Unfortunately, the hangover effect of International Fight Week, in which so many great bouts and big names were crammed into a one-week span, is that there isn't a ton left over for Saturday night in Chicago. Still, though, Edson Barboza vs. Gilbert Melendez is one fantastic matchup. Barboza finally got his elusive signature victory last time out with his victory over Anthony Pettis, and a win over Melendez finally propels him right into the mix of top lightweight title contenders. Melendez, meanwhile, hasn't won a fight since that 2013 brawl with Diego Sanchez and is coming off a PED suspension. He badly needs this one to prove he's still one of the top dogs. As for the rest of the card, I mean, hey, people weren't too enthused about UFC Fight Night 91, either, and that ended up a killer night of fights. So let's not write this show off before it happens.

Potential fight

@RiniMMA: Aljamain vs Mayday... what do you think?

I think that's one heck of an interesting fight on paper. Both Aljamain Sterling and Michael McDonald are coming off losses. Sterling came into his grudge matchup with Bryan Caraway with a lot of hype in the first fight of his new contract, started strong, then gassed badly and suffered his first career loss. McDonald is in bad need of a strong win after his one-sided loss to John Lineker, which dropped the one-time title challenger to 2-3 in his past five fights. The only hangup here is that McDonald will have to sit awhile after being knocked out and Sterling might not want to wait that long to return, but otherwise, if we're going to play fantasy matchmaker, you can do a whole lot worse than this.

Fight of the year

@christopher_kit: Over halfway through 2016, which is your fight of the year so far

We've had some great ones this year, from Dominick Cruz's bantamweight title victory over T.J. Dillashaw to Nate Diaz's submission win over Conor McGregor to Miesha Tate's bantamweight tile win over Holly Holm to Joanna Jedrzejczyk's grueling victory over Claudia Gadelha.

But the fight which rang in the New Year is still my favorite seven months into 2016. Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit threw down on January 2, giving us the exact type of ride both guys have taken us on over years, from heavy hits to inventive offense to wild shifts in momentum through second, third, and fourth gears. And it was topped by a fifth round was just about the best 21st through 25th minutes you'll ever see in this sport. And hey, if you're looking for a reason to get your head back into the sport after this onslaught of bad news, remember that both of these guys will compete again before the summer is out.

Dana at the RNC

@real_tinydancer: What's the upside to Dana white speaking at the RNC? Everything said will be parsed like never before.

I'll admit, I was secretly hoping White would ask Donald Trump if he wanted to be f**king president, and was sort of disappointed when he didn't.

For real, though, at the end of the day, White's appearance at the RNC went about as well as could be expected. White was one of the few speakers who actually stuck to his evening's supposed business-related theme, he didn't really delve into anything political, and talked up his personal relationship with Trump. It mostly came off like a stubborn Irish guy from Boston showing loyalty to someone who was there for him on his way up, which is what stubborn Irish guys from Boston tend to do. It's hard to find too much fault in White's words.

And anyway, the company is heading into some murky waters between the threat of an Ali Act for MMA and the ongoing antitrust suit. White stumped for Trump and new UFC overlord Ari Emmanuel is the brother of Democratic heavy hitter Rahm Emmanuel. So maybe this was simply an exercise in covering all the bases.

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