UFC 144: Is Frankie Edgar Being Underrated Against Ben Henderson?

BOSTON - AUGUST 27: UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar weighs in at 154 lbs at the UFC 118 weigh-in at the TD Garden on August 27 2010 in Boston Massachusetts. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

He's too small for Lightweight. He didn't earn his title shot. He should have lost to Maynard.

You hear a lot of criticisms of UFC Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar at times, and though fans respect his work in the Maynard fights, these criticisms generally boil down to one thing: He's a vulnerable champion, and he's going to lose.

At UFC 144, many believe Ben Henderson will be the man to finally prove all of these things to be correct - to do what Maynard could not do and definitively take out Edgar, sending him down to Featherweight. And perhaps he will - it's definitely a close fight. But anyone who sees as Edgar as vulnerable should consider this:

If Frankie Edgar defeats Ben Henderson at UFC 144, he will set a new record for most successful defenses of the UFC Lightweight title.

Right now Edgar has three defenses - one against B.J. Penn and two against Gray Maynard. A win over Henderson would be his fourth. Some may argue against including the Maynard draw, but Edgar walked in with the belt and walked out with the belt, which is a successful defense in my eyes. He's currently tied with Penn, who also had three defenses. Other champions were Jens Pulver (2 defenses) and Sean Sherk (1).

What's strange is that Edgar still is not presented as a dominant champion. I suspect it's the combination of back-to-back rematches in his defenses, plus questions about the judging in both his title win and the Maynard draw. Put these together and you can end up seeing a flawed champion.

But the facts tell a different story. They show that Edgar is as dominant a champion as B.J. Penn - who is typically held up as the best UFC Lightweight ever. Not only is Edgar on par with Penn, he is on the verge of becoming the most dominant champion in the history of one of the UFC's most competitive divisions - and he's doing so at a time when there are countless supremely talented challengers out there all fighting to knock him off his pedestal.

Despite any perceived vulnerability, no one has yet succeeded in that mission. People have tried, and they have failed, and at UFC 144, Ben Henderson may be added to that list. At that point, Edgar's name will stand alone in the record books. Perhaps then, more will recognize the dominance of Frankie Edgar.

SBN coverage of UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson

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