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Manager says Dana White having soft spot for Frankie Edgar was a ‘big factor’ in booking of Holloway title fight

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“Dana White is a very emotional guy, He likes Frankie a lot, and that was a big factor of this.”

UFC Hall Of Fame: Official Class Of 2018 Induction Ceremony Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Everyone has a soft spot for career underdog Frankie Edgar, but no one expected the ‘The Answer’ to be fighting Max Holloway for the featherweight title at UFC 240 — especially not when there are more much deserving contenders such as streaking prospect Alex Volkanovski.

Edgar is 3-2 in his last five fights and the 37-year-old hasn’t fought since last April, when he beat Cub Swanson via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 138. Prior to that, Edgar was brutally KO’d by former featherweight title challenger Brian Ortega.

So, why is Edgar getting the title shot over Volkanovski, who recently beat Jose Aldo to extend his win streak to seventeen?

According to renowned and controversial manager Ali Abdelaziz, a ‘big factor’ in the booking of Holloway vs. Edgar is the fact that UFC president Dana White has a major soft spot for the former lightweight champion.

“Alex Volkanovski is an amazing fighter, great kid,” Abdelaziz said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour (transcript via MMA Fighting). “You can’t say anything bad about him. But listen, Frankie has been in this company for 10 years, he got passed over so many times, he got a lot of title shots. He put his title shot on the line versus (Brian) Ortega — and that was part of the deal. He said, ‘You know what, guys? I’m going to go ahead, I’m going to fight. I need to fight.’ And he saved the main event. Ortega was in the same position to fight Jeremy Stephens for the interim belt [at UFC 226] and he turned it down, right? And all I have to say is I spoke to the UFC brass, Dana (White) and Sean (Shelby) and Hunter (Campbell), all of these guys. I said, ‘Guys, listen. This is the deal. Frankie went out there and got a win. He’s been such a great guy and he deserves this title shot.’

“Dana White is a very emotional guy,” Abdelaziz continued, claiming Dana White has a soft spot for Edgar. He likes Frankie a lot, and that was a big factor of this. But he understands, he looked at Frankie’s career and what he has done. And I know this business is how good have you done for me lately — this is the type of business we’re in — but I really went [to that meeting], and everybody thought I was going to talk about Khabib, this or this. I said, ‘Listen, I’m not here to talk about nothing else. I only here to talk about Frankie.’ And I talked and I made my case, and they said, ‘For the first time, you are right. We’re in.’ It’s a bigger fight. I think, also timing, the UFC is talking about going to Australia, right? When you save this fight card for Australia [at UFC 243], you have Max or Frankie fighting Alex. It’s timing too. From a business standpoint, it’s better for the UFC to have Alex to fight later if they still can have the Australia card, right? Because if they have Adesanya vs. Whittaker, Frankie vs. Alex or Max vs. Alex, the winner, in a business way it works out.”

UFC 240: Holloway vs. Edgar takes place later this year, July 27 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.