It looked like it was going to be over quick. Gray Maynard rocked Frankie Edgar in the first round of their lightweight title fight at UFC 125, leaving the champion on wobbly legs for most of the round's five minutes. Edgar took a horrible beating, eating punch after punch. If the referee had decided to stop the fight at certain points, it wouldn't have been the worst call ever. No champion has ever taken such an extended whooping in UFC history, not even Brock Lesnar in his UFC 116 battle with Shane Carwin.
And then it was like the first round never happened at all. Edgar was back to his old self as the second round began, moving well and landing regularly with a crisp right hand. What followed was one of the best fights in UFC history. We've seen lots of fights that featured fighters trading evenly, but rarely fights so evenly fought with such a high level of technique. These weren't winging overhand leads. Both men were putting punches together in combination, looking to wrestle, and even attempting and defending submissions.
This was what mixed martial arts is all about. This was art- a brutal artistry for certain, but art nonetheless. In the end, I didn't mind that the fight was scored a draw. I had it a draw on my own score card giving Maynard the first and third rounds (10-8 Round one) and Edgar rounds two, four, and five. It was as evenly fought as any bout I've seen. No one deserved to lose.
Unfortunately, we will all be losers because of the UFC's insistence on booking fights so far in advance. We just saw a championship fight end in a draw, not a boring fight that no one wants to see again, but an action packed extravaganza. Should Frankie Edgar really go from this to fighting the WEC's lame duck champion Anthony Pettis?
I like Pettis for his potential and think he has a bright future. But why should he be given a title shot when he's never beaten a legitimate top ten fighter? We don't need to see Edgar-Pettis. We need to see Edgar vs. Maynard III and we need to see it as soon as possible.
I implore you to write to Dana White on twitter and ask him to do the right thing. Pettis can wait until there is a true winner in this epic battle between Edgar and Maynard. I, for one, would like five more rounds of top notch action from the best fighters on the planet. Let the champion and his challenger settle the score first - then give Pettis his time in the spotlight. This is what the sport has been waiting for, our first chance at an epic trilogy, the kind that define legacies in boxing. Let's see it Dana.