UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar is reportedly set to return to action on February 26 in Japan. Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
According to both MMAWeekly.com and MMAJunkie.com, UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar will return to the Octagon on February 26 when the promotion heads overseas to Japan. His opponent? Both reports indicate that the winner of Saturday night's UFC on Fox preliminary bout between Clay Guida and Ben Henderson will likely determine the number one contender to the crown:
Sources close to the fighter's camp confirmed to MMAWeekly.com that Edgar will likely appear in the main event on the card set to happen at Saitama Super Arena for the UFC's return card to Japan.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned from multiple sources close to the promotion that the winner of the Guida vs. Henderson matchup is expected to receive an immediate title shot against current lightweight champ Frankie Edgar (14-1-1 MMA, 9-1-1 UFC).
Since the UFC scrapped the whole idea of leading the UFC Japan show into a stateside pay-per-view, we can surmise that attempting to appeal to the local fanbase isn't of the utmost priority for the promotion anymore. The audience that the UFC will likely care about more is their paying customers in North America, and Frankie Edgar vs. Guida/Henderson is a great match-up.
The news also lays to rest any theories that the bout wouldn't determine the division's number one contender. It was previously opined by fans and media, including myself, that the inability to spotlight the fight on the UFC on Fox broadcast would create another step on the stairwell to a title shot. If the report is true, it assures that the UFC will find a way to reach a broad audience with the match-up, possibly during the UFC 139 broadcast or on an upcoming free event.