Saturday night at UFC 222 was quite a forgettable one for former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. “The Answer” was originally scheduled to face Max Holloway, but an injury forced the champion out of the fight, and he was subsequently replaced by the undefeated Brian Ortega.
Edgar ended up being knocked out for the first time in his career, and in devastating highlight reel fashion. For observers like former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir, it was a fight that should not have been agreed upon by the Edgar camp in the first place.
“If I was Frankie Edgar’s manager and he wants to take this fight, I’d be like ‘No, Frankie, we’re not taking this fight,” Mir said on his Phone Booth Fighting podcast. “Why? Because this is a dangerous fight. This guy is big, he hits hard, he’s knocked out everybody he’s fought so far in the UFC, and if you go out there and just barely beat him, it makes us look worse going into our Max Holloway fight.”
“We’re also gonna take the time off. You’re an older athlete, you’ve been fighting for a long time, you’ve earned your title shot. You’ve earned your place in UFC lore, you’re gonna be a f—king Hall-of-Famer. We don’t need to give a hand out to this kid Ortega and help him out.”
“You taking this fight is not what’s best for you,” Mir continued. “You have nothing to gain, the other kid Ortega has everything in the f—king world to gain. Even if he fights you in a close war, his stock goes up and your stock drops. Who wants those kinds of fights?”
Mir believes Edgar would have excelled further if there was a weight class in between featherweight and bantamweight, which is why he is also calling for more weight classes, particularly in the lighter divisions.
“I think Edgar is just screwed that 135 is too difficult of a cut for him, and (at) 145, he still looks small against everybody he fights at featherweight,” Mir said. “He almost has the length of a guy who is at the bantamweight weight class, but just can’t quite cut the muscle tissue to get down there and effectively be able to perform.”
“When guys are smaller in correlation to their size and percentage, it’s a bigger difference,” Mir added. “Someone being 20 pounds bigger than me at 260 to 280, that’s the difference of like a five-pound difference down there at the 130’s.”
“I can lose five pounds by skipping breakfast. (But) tell Demetrious Johnson ‘hey, we need to drop five pounds in the next hour.’ He can’t just skip breakfast, he’s gonna be bouncing around for a while, because (it’s) five pounds in percentage to his weight.”
Per UFC president Dana White, Ortega is guaranteed the next shot at Holloway’s featherweight title. Edgar, meanwhile, is not ready to call it quits just yet, as he “dusts himself off and get ready to put it all on the line again.”