01 Jan Frankie Edgar: ‘I know a lot of people are questioning where I’m at in my career’
Just over a year ago, Frankie Edgar was competing for the UFC featherweight title for the third time. Now just days away from his 135-pound debut, the New Jersey native has something to prove as he prepares to face Pedro Munhoz in the UFC on ESPN 15 main event.
While Edgar has been a mainstay at the top of the rankings at both lightweight and featherweight for more than a decade, a 1-3 record in his past four fights, including a pair of knockouts suffered at the hands of Brian Ortega and “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung, have many wondering if “The Answer” might be questioning his own future in the sport.
That’s why the 38-year-old veteran is ready to silence the doubters while proving to himself that he’s still at the top of his game when he fights on Saturday night.
“I know a lot of people are questioning where I’m at in my career,” Edgar told MMA Fighting during the UFC on ESPN 15 media day. “I’m a little bit older. I’m coming down a weight class. People are questioning my abilities here.
“I want to go out there, more so to prove to anybody else [wrong], but to prove to myself that I’m still a top dog in whatever weight class I fight in.”
As much as Edgar might want to satiate everyone’s curiosity about his future with this fight, the one thing no one ever wonders about is his willingness to face the best of the best in whatever division he’s fighting in.
Four of Edgar’s past seven opponents have been ex-champions or title contenders in the UFC. The rest on that list have been top-10 ranked competitors.
Munhoz is no different as he steps into this fight as the No. 5-ranked bantamweight in the world.
Originally, Edgar was scheduled to face Munhoz in July but their fight was postponed after the Brazilian tested positive for COVID-19 just before boarding a flight bound for Abu Dhabi. Rather than face a short notice replacement, Edgar opted to wait for Munhoz because he understood that the reward for this fight was far greater than the risk he would have taken to accept a challenge from anybody else.
“I’ve taken some notice fights, short opponent changes, it didn’t always work out the way I wanted it to,” Edgar explained. “I learned from some past mistakes, I guess you could say, and I said let’s just wait.
“We got rebooked a month later, it’s really not that big of a deal. I just feel like I had more time to prepare. More time to feel like I could make this weight and it all worked out.”
With a 7-2 record in his past nine fights, Munhoz has proven himself to be one of the best 135-pounders in the world.
Edgar would love nothing more than to beat him in his bantamweight debut and take the position Munhoz earned through the resume he’s built in recent years.
“Pedro’s been a stud in this weight class for a while. He’s got some big wins over some very good guys,” Edgar said. “A win will put me in the direction I want to be. It will put me in a position I want to be.
“I’ve been fighting the best guys since day one of my UFC career. I don’t want that to change. Pedro was the guy that made the most sense to me.”
A win would likely put Edgar right back in the thick of the title hunt as he seeks to become a two-division champion after previously reigning over the lightweight division.
As much as that would mean to him, Edgar isn’t thinking about anything other than beating Munhoz and once that work is done then he’ll contemplate the future.
“I’ve just got to worry about winning my fight Saturday,” Edgar said. “Winning has a way of taking care of things. If I go do that, anything’s possible.
“What I’ve done in my career, I’m always knocking on the door, I’ve always had opportunities presented to me. If it does come up, of course, I jump at it.”