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Coach: Conor McGregor passed up opportunities to face Frankie Edgar in the past

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Coach Mark Henry is hopeful that a fight between Conor McGregor and Frankie Edgar can be made despite the Irishman passing up opportunities to fight “The Answer” in the past.

In a recent interview with ESPN, McGregor underlined why he felt as though his fellow former UFC lightweight world champion would be a good challenge for him.

“You know who else is at the top of the list, Frankie Edgar, is also right there, up there at the top of the list,” McGregor said. “Because he has similarities to Khabib. Runs on the back foot, shoots on the single leg. I want these types of similar bouts and also Frankie has been very respectful. Frankie has always been respectful.”

Edgar later took to social media to declare interest in McGregor’s proposal.

Despite McGregor’s recent comments, Edgar’s coach Mark Henry revealed that McGregor had a number of chances to face the New Jersey native in the past. Henry remembers the Dubliner passing up an opportunity to face Edgar at UFC 189 when Jose Aldo was forced from their title clash. Chad Mendes eventually replaced Aldo for the July 2015 bout.

“He didn’t want to fight Frankie before and he had opportunities too,” Henry told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast.

“It’s like he didn’t want to fight him, he had a couple of chances. [When Jose Aldo was forced out of UFC 189] he knew Mendes wasn’t in a camp, that he was filming a hunting show and he hadn’t trained in a long time. He knows that Frankie trains all year round and it would’ve been perfect timing. Mendes had just lost the fight before to Aldo. That week, Frankie was ranked ahead of Chad too and they switched it fast after Chad got the fight…Frankie was ranked ahead of him, he had more wins than him. Chad had just lost within two fights prior to the title fight.”

Henry recalled McGregor declaring that he would fight Edgar if he managed to defeat Mendes, which took place the day before his eventual Dec. 2015 meeting with Aldo. Despite Edgar having his hand raised, the fight never came to be.

“When he had the opportunity to fight Frankie again he turned it down…When Chad and Frankie fought each other, [McGregor] said that Frankie would lose and if Frankie does beat [Mendes], [McGregor] would fight him, which then happened too, and then he didn’t fight Frankie again after that. There have been a lot of excuses, but all in all, he’s bashed other people and he’s seems to have been pretty respectful to Frankie. And Frankie’s been pretty respectful to him, like he has been to everybody,” said Henry.

The celebrated striking coach highlighted that Edgar has always wanted to lock horns with the polarizing Irishman.

“Frankie would love to fight him, he’s always wanted to fight him; Frankie always wants to fight the best guys. I think Conor’s that way too. I know Conor didn’t fight Frankie, but he’s taken fights at the last second and he’s not afraid of anything. I give him a lot of credit, so many guys don’t wanna fight when their opponents get hurt. Look at Frankie, he loses a match and he takes a fight with [Brian] Ortega in two seconds. I believe Conor is the same; Conor is a guy that will fight, so they’re perfect for each other.”

As he has stated in the past, Henry is still confident that Edgar would be a difficult challenge for McGregor.

“Yeah, I’ve always thought [Edgar was McGregor’s kryptonite], and I still think he is today. I think Frankie would definitely do well with him. I’ve never said he’d roll him over or anything, but I think it would be a great fight.”

Edgar’s coach believes that Madison Square Garden would be the perfect venue for the proposed fight and feels as though featherweight would be the best division for it to be contested at.

“I think 145 would be great. Even 150 or something like that, that’s cool. I think Conor is a professional, even with his last cut to [145] against Aldo, he’s a true professional. The guy’s never missed weight, you’ve got to give him credit.”

Check out the latest episode of Eurobash. Mark Henry’s interviews begins at 19:00.

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