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UFC Lightweight Title Picture Rests on Frankie Edgar's Decision

Zuffa LLC, Getty Images
Zuffa LLC, Getty Images

NEW YORK -- As he's one to do, Frankie Edgar has dug his heels in for a fight, this one about where his future lies. Is it at his longtime home at lightweight, or down one division at featherweight? That's the big question that's currently fuzzying the UFC's lightweight championship picture.

There's currently a logjam near the top of 155, with several fighters jockeying for the No. 1 contender's slot. Among them are Edgar, Anthony Pettis and UFC on FOX 3 headliners Jim Miller and Nate Diaz. But UFC president Dana White said on Tuesday that nothing can be determined until Edgar makes a decision.

Just last week on The MMA Hour, Edgar made his stance known, practically demanding a return bout with new champ Ben Henderson.

"I'm saying it, and I'm saying it loud: I want my rematch," he said.

But that alone won't ensure him that he gets it. He'll get another chance to make his case later on Tuesday, as White said he is planning to speak with Edgar. Perhaps that conversation will offer some clarity to who may have the upper hand on the No. 1 contender slot.

"I don't know," White said when asked of the division's plan. "I’ve got to figure out the Frankie piece before I can even figure out the other piece. I got to figure this Frankie piece before I can do anything else with all these other guys.

During the post-fight press conference in Australia, White seemed to suggest Pettis may get the next slot, and at Radio City Music Hall on Tuesday, he indicated that Miller or Diaz could get elevated with a win. Diaz even threw out another name, saying he believes his Cesar Gracie teammate Gilbert Melendez "should be the champion right now."

White said that his objection about an Edgar-Henderson II wasn't simply about a rematch. He said he believed that Edgar is actually deserving of one, but reiterated that his concern is for Edgar's health after taking damage for the third straight fight.

"When you’re as tough as he is ... the guy takes punishment that nobody else can take," White said. "I mean, he’s got to have the best chin ever and be the toughest guy other than like Big Country [Roy Nelson] that I’ve ever seen in the UFC. But that’s not why I like this kid. I respect him, I care about him. I don’t want to see him keep taking that punishment. This isn’t some big political move to try to take the guy to 145. I care about the guy, and I don’t like to see it."

White promised that Edgar would earn an immediate title fight with current 145-pound champ Jose Aldo if he chooses to make the move down. But that's only if he can be convinced. And as even White himself acknowledged, he doesn't have a lot of ammunition to make his case.

"It's hard to argue with a guy with his record at 155," he said.

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