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Coach Mark Henry wants Frankie Edgar to take shortest route to UFC title, ‘whether it be 135 or 145'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Frankie Edgar's pursuit of a second UFC belt hit a snag last month at UFC 200.

After years of working towards another title shot, Edgar saw opportunity slip through his fingers when he dropped a decision to Jose Aldo in an interim title bout that effectively decided the next man to fight UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor. The loss snapped a five-fight win streak for Edgar and left his head coach, Mark Henry, dismayed at losing out on a chance to make history.

"He was right there for the belt," Henry said Monday on The MMA Hour. "As soon as that fight ended, it was one of the biggest fights in my head that I could remember where right when the fight ended there was like 10 things or 15 things that went through my head -- should've done this, should've done that, should've called this, should've called that -- that would've worked, that Frankie would've done.

"Frankie is so amazing, man. You just have to yell out anything to him and he'll jump all over it. He trusts in his corner a lot, and I just think that the chasing -- we were just trying to be so aggressive and kind of left our game a little bit, instead of taking the time and working more of our game. I think we just rushed things a little bit. It reminded me a little bit of (T.J.) Dillashaw (versus) Dominick Cruz, where Dillashaw kind of left his game a little bit, just rushing after him and trying to just go after him, and wasn't putting technique into play."

Aldo stirred minor controversy afterward by suggesting he had a spy in Edgar's training room during UFC 200 fight week who warned him against using leg kicks and his left hand, as they played a big part in Edgar's gameplan.

Aldo eventually backtracked on those comments, saying he was just making a joke at the expense of Conor McGregor, who said similar things ahead of UFC 194. But either way, Henry brushed off Aldo's words and instead place the blame for Edgar's loss on himself and mistakes his coaches made during camp.

"The two specific things [Aldo] said, we were working on probably the most, and people did see us that week doing it," Henry said. "But it still shouldn't matter anyway, in my opinion. I think, too, if I could do that over again, Frankie in the first 70-percent of the camp was just on fire. I don't know if wanting it so bad, I over-trained him a little bit. I'm going to change things up this time for our whole camp.

"Joe Rogan talks about it a lot with over-training. I think I'm going to take a little bit of that advice and maybe slow down a little bit on the sparring and make sure that we go in with guns blazing and everything clicks. We've been doing it for 12 years, a certain style, but I think you could always make things better and I think that's one thing I blame on myself, maybe I just pushed a little too hard. But definitely no excuse at all, Aldo won. He deserved it."

Edgar, 34, now founds himself in a difficult spot, having lost twice to Aldo and on the outside looking in for the Conor McGregor sweepstakes.

Edgar has already said that a fight against Max Holloway or Jeremy Stephens makes sense for his next move, however in Henry's eyes, a move down to bantamweight also sounds worthwhile if it means the quickest path to a UFC title.

"I think he's one of the best fighters who ever walked on the face of the Earth," Henry said of Edgar. "I think that people still don't realize -- like Marlon (Moraes), he's a 135er, he's bigger than Frankie. Frankie is a true 135er. I hate to say this stuff, but (when) Conor fights Nate (Diaz), it's probably more of his weight class, 155, and they make the biggest deal out of Conor and he came up mega-short. Frankie had a title at 155 and came really close this last time at winning his second title, and he's really a 135er.

"So, for me, I just really want to go the shortest cut to the next title, whether it be 135 or 145, whatever brings him the closest. That nine hours (with the new weigh-ins) didn't help either, that extra nine hours at 145. Aldo, man, he looked big out there. I've had other guys too like Eddie (Alvarez) and Edson (Barboza), in their fights I asked them how they felt with that extra nine hours recovering from the weight cut and they both said how they both felt a lot different and a lot stronger. So that's kind of tough too, when you give a guy nine extra hours on the weight cut, that Frankie has to kind of deal with now too."

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