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Should Frankie Edgar finally fight at bantamweight? Coach Ricardo Almeida weighs in

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Frankie Edgar came up short in his attempt to win the featherweight title at UFC 240.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Frankie Edgar came up short in another attempt to win the UFC featherweight belt, losing a decision to Max Holloway at UFC 240 in Edmonton, Canada, and many wonder if it’s time to finally see the former 155-pound champion attempt to go down to bantamweight.

Ricardo Almeida, one of Edgar’s longtime coaches in New Jersey, believes “The Answer” would be down to do it if the right opportunity comes. “Cachorrao”, a UFC veteran himself, scored one or two rounds in Edgar’s favor at UFC 240, but praises Holloway’s ability to adjust mid-fight and cause problems for Edgar.

Heartbroken with another setback in his protégé’s featherweight title aspirations, Almeida says that the final decision on a shift to a different weight class is in Edgar’s hands, but seeing an obvious path to the 135-pound belt could be enough to convince him to cut a few extra pounds for his next bout.

“We’ve been talking about this for a while, telling him to move down to 135 pounds, but he never really wanted it, he was never really interested,” Almeida told MMA Fighting. “What Frankie wants is to be the best in the world. Frankie wants to win this second belt. And if he sees a path to get to that belt in that weight class, I’m sure he would really consider it. And I think he’d probably have that path.

“It doesn’t make sense for him to go down just for a fight, but if it’s for a title run and become champion again, I think everyone wants to see that. It would be incredible to see him fighting (Henry) Cejudo, (T.J.) Dillashaw, Dominick Cruz, all those beasts in that weight class — except for Marlon (Moraes) [laughs].”

Almeida says they have tried to convince Edgar to move to bantamweight since the early days of the division in the UFC, back when Edgar was the lightweight champion in 2010, but “maybe now is the time” for Edgar, who is shorter than any other ranked featherweight except for Alexander Volkanovski, who also stands at 5-foot-6.

The jiu-jitsu coach thinks that Edgar “would definitely embrace” an opportunity to make a title run at bantamweight if it’s a clear path for him, and he believes he would do great at 135 pounds after watching him train in the gym with fellow UFC stars Zabit Magomedsharipov and Marlon Moraes.

“We have to high-level guys we can analyze,” Almeida said. “You can see the difference in Frankie’s ability when he can use his reach. Against Zabit, he has to keep moving forward the entire time to close the distance. Against Marlon, it’s back and forth with them throwing combinations. It’s an incredible ‘fight’, both are excellent fighters, but it’s more normal than fighting someone who’s so bigger than you. You’re getting hit in a distance you can’t hit them back, something that happened a few times in this fight with Holloway.”

Edgar has yet to decide his next step in the UFC, and when he’ll return to the Octagon, but Almeida wouldn’t be surprised to see him back sooner rather than later.