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Frankie Edgar undecided on retirement, reveals he fought after recent hip replacement surgery

UFC 268: Edgar v Vera
Frankie Edgar and Marlon Vera
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Regarding his fighting future, Frankie Edgar is playing it close to the vest.

The former UFC lightweight champion suffered another devastating loss this past Saturday at UFC 268, falling by third-round knockout to Marlon Vera after taking a front kick to the face.

It was the third knockout loss for Edgar over his past four fights after being finished by strikes just once in the first 31 fights of his pro career. Given his current slump, Edgar is aware that there are those who want to know if he’s thinking of retiring, but for now he’s brushing that conversation aside.

“Everybody’s going to bring up the f*cking retirement and this and that, and I’m not gonna answer it because I don’t know what it is, honestly,” Edgar said on his Champ and the Tramp podcast. “I just want to know, when I do retire, I’m never coming back. I’m not ready for that yet. I’m not ready to make that decision yet.

“But this is probably the first time after a fight where I’m not thinking about my next fight. I’m not thinking about getting back in the gym. I know I’m never gonna stop training no matter what I decide, and I will be back in the gym soon just because I’m addicted to that. But I’m not thinking of it, and this is the first time probably in my fight career that that’s happened.”

Not only has Edgar been finished more frequently than before, his overall results have been poor, as he has won just twice in his past seven appearances. Edgar remains a contender at 135 pounds, his third UFC division after previously competing at as a featherweight and a lightweight.

Edgar’s bout with Vera was competitive, for the most part, and Edgar was encouraged enough by his own performance that he’s confident he can still hang with the best. Whenever he does decide to retire, it will be without pomp and circumstance.

“I know I’ve got a lot left to give this sport in many ways, like my spirit doesn’t want to be done, that’s for sure,” Edgar said. “I feel like I can still do this at a high level. I was doing that at a high level two nights ago and got caught with a good shot.

“But I don’t like being on this end, and it seems like I’m here often, as of late. So I’m being real about it, but I’m not gonna make a decision. I don’t know if I’ll ever be the guy that goes out and f*cking announces he’s retiring, I don’t know if I could do that. I don’t know if I’ll be the guy a year from now that’s like, I want to fight. So I’m just not gonna make any f*cking announcement.”

Having turned 40 in October and having extended his record for the most time spent inside a UFC cage, Edgar has to be honest with himself about the wear-and-tear he’s put on his body. He revealed he underwent hip replacement surgery in April, which he said did not hinder him in his fight with Vera.

“I never really made it public,” Edgar said. “That’s an accomplishment in itself, coming back from that. That’s something I wanted to prove to myself. A lot of people think you get something like that, it’s the end of something. And not only did I do it, I f*cking did it quickly. I felt amazing, my hip f*cking felt amazing.”

Edgar added that he’s also having issues with his back, which have plagued him since he had surgery on the area when he was 18. Though the surgery helped him to get through both his collegiate wrestling and pro fighting careers, he said he is now having “nerve issues” on one side of his back, and he has set up an appointment to figure out whether he needs more surgery or perhaps a less invasive treatment.

Either way, Edgar is tired of dealing with it.

“I can’t say it was a mistake [not taking care of my back], I just f*cking fought,” Edgar said. “I wrestled with it in college, I fought for 20 f*cking years, so it did its job. But I need to get that taken care of, regardless of fighting or not, it’s f*cking with my life.”

Edgar expects to talk to family, friends, coaches, and whoever else has advice about how to proceed with his career, though the final decision to fight again or not is up to him, and he’s giving no indication either way at the moment.

One thing he’s certain about is that he will not let fan perception of his career — and how it could be affected by future losses — factor into his retirement plans.

“What is legacy?” Edgar said. “It’s what other people talk about. I’ve got to be one with myself, I’ve got to be straight-up with myself. Like I said, I really don’t know. I’m not thinking about fighting right now, I’m not talking about fighting. That’s not on the horizon at least in the near future right now. I’ve got to make sure I’m 100 percent OK with that when I do make that decision.

“Everyone asks, ‘What’s your legacy? What do you want your legacy to be?’ I make up some sh*t because I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what I want my legacy to be. I go out there and I f*cking put it on the line, I put my heart into everything, I f*cking prepare 100 percent of the way. But is that legacy? If that’s what I’m defined by, then I go out there again and I’m gonna put my f*cking heart on the line again and I lose again, I’m tarnishing my legacy? How am I tarnishing that?”