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UFC Manila opinion: Frankie Edgar - Point fighting extraordinaire

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Frankie Edgar prevails but fails to entertain in another monotonous decision win over The California Kid on Saturday afternoon.

Photo by Anton Tabuena

Frankie Edgar... Phenomenal MMA boxing, sizzling footwork, commanding wrestling, and an unyielding chin, but how will the Toms River, New Jersey native be remembered?

The former mini-lightweight champion possesses all of the attributes to dazzle and entertain a global mixed martial arts audience, yet for some reason, the 5 ft 6" competitor often fails to fully impress and entertain in the bulk of his UFC bouts.

He's conquered two-time UFC champion BJ Penn to claim the 155 lbs. title, vanquished Gray Maynard from championship pursuit and then failed to reclaim lightweight gold against the much larger Benson Henderson at UFC 144. Since his temporary taste of promotional gold in 2010/2011, 'The Answer' has been unable to fully re-emerge as a fan favorite on the UFC's main stage. In fact, it seems as though the only time Edgar has charmed MMA fans is when he's the one being clobbered into near unconsciousness by his game opponent.

Think about it. His nail biting draw with Gray Maynard at UFC 125 featured the undersized New Jersian stumbling and tumbling all over the Octagon in MGM's Grand Garden Las Vegas arena in 2011, and then his redemption at UFC 136 against 'The Bully' also exposed his vulnerability. In both historic bouts, the determined NCAA division I wrestler took a pounding from his opponent. He's a survivor. A fighter. But is he true MMA star material?

The only time Edgar seems to be able to fully seduce his audience is when he's the one being walloped by his opponent and then comes back from behind. Otherwise, it's just your typical Frankie Edgar points decision victory. He did finish BJ Penn at The Ultimate Fighter 19 finale, but then again, who wouldn't have been able to devour Penn in his zombified 2014 state? The New Jersey representative also locked up a neck crank against Cub Swanson at UFC Fight Night 57, but that was after almost 24 minutes of typical point fighting strategy and grinding wrestling, forcing Swanson to surrender his neck to Edgar's ceaseless grappling within the closing seconds of the final round.

And now he emerges as the #2 ranked featherweight in the world after shutting out Urijah Faber at UFC Fight Night 66 in Manila, Philippines, in another predictable, but uninspiring victory. He fenced-off Faber for the majority of the contest, but failed to fully spring forth as an enlivening contender in the 145 lbs. division.

He's already failed to outpoint featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo in 2013 at UFC 156. What makes you think he can dethrone the Brazilian in 2015, or even topple brash Irishman Conor McGreogor in the same year?

He's good, but just not that good. He can be entertaining, but not always. The fact of the matter is, Frankie Edgar will always be destined as the champion that never quite made it to the next level. Never quite made it as the reputable legend of his divisional counterparts. He'll never achieve the glory of Jose Aldo, Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre or even BJ Penn.

You can root for him, cheer for him, but Frankie Edgar will never be remembered as the championship legend you envisioned him as. In years to come, he'll be remembered as the point fighting championship aspirant that never quite made it. Good, but not that good. Entertaining, but not that entertaining.

Frankie Edgar: point fighting extraordinaire.