It has been over a year since Frankie Edgar risked his guaranteed featherweight title shot against Max Holloway in a last-minute fight against Brian Ortega at UFC 222.
Edgar (23-6-1) was scheduled to face Holloway in March 2018, but Holloway was forced to withdraw because of injury. Rather than wait for the defending champion to heal, Edgar accepted a fight against Ortega and lost via first-round knockout. He surrendered his title shot to Ortega as a result.
Time has a way of blurring the details around a fight, but Edgar, 37, is confident the UFC hasn’t forgotten about his decision to risk a 145-pound title shot — neither has Holloway, or the rest of the division for that matter.
“I think everybody knows it should go to me,” Edgar told ESPN. “Even the guys who want the shot, you [hear] them say, ‘Well, I know Frankie should get it, but…’ You know? Alexander Volkanovski is fighting Jose Aldo in a few weeks and that may have an impact, but I think everybody knows it’s me. I’ve worked my entire career for it to be me.
“The fact I put it on the line the last time Max and I were supposed to meet up, that holds some weight. I know the UFC likes to reward people who are willing to just let it fly. I’ve done that my whole career. I’m ready for that reward.”
Holloway (20-4) remains the undisputed featherweight champion, despite a loss at lightweight last weekend to Dustin Poirier. Holloway was attempting to move up in weight and capture a second title. He has not announced his next move, but UFC president Dana White said he expected Holloway to return to 145 pounds and defend his title.
Edgar, of Toms River, New Jersey, rebounded from a loss to Ortega with a win against Cub Swanson last April. He missed the second half of last year because of a torn biceps but says he’s back to full strength. Recently, he sparred with No. 1 bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes, who’s scheduled to fight Henry Cejudo in a championship bout in June.
“I want this f—ing fight,” Edgar said. “I’m not really the guy who’s going to go out of his way to create buzz. It’s not my style. It seems that’s the style everybody is going with. It would be kind of cheesy for me to start now.
“I know I’m only on a one-fight win streak, but people do realize that I took a risk and went for it. And I’d do it again, because that’s the kind of guy I am.”
A former lightweight champion, Edgar acknowledged he might have only a few years left at the highest level but says his focus is the same as it always has been. From the time his career began in 2005, he says he has “gunned for that No. 1 spot — get that No. 1 spot and defend that No. 1 spot as many times as I can.”
He said he didn’t necessarily learn anything new about Holloway last weekend, despite the Hawaiian suffering his first loss since 2013. Edgar said he expected Holloway to come roaring back after a rare setback, and that he believes he’s the one to welcome him back to featherweight.
“I was wondering how Max would do with a guy who was bigger and you saw in the fight Dustin was bigger,” Edgar said. “Max had the height on him, but Dustin’s weight was a big part of that win. Max couldn’t push him back the way he’s pushed some other guys. I learned a little bit here and there but not much. I’m a different fighter than Dustin.”