Frankie Edgar moving down to the bantamweight division is something his coach Mark Henry would “love” to see.
Edgar was originally set to face current featherweight champion Max Holloway at UFC 218 in December last year. However, he had to pull out from the fight due to an injury, and Jose Aldo took his place in a losing effort.
The fight was then rescheduled for UFC 222 on March 3 with Holloway having to pull out this time due to injury. Wanting to stay active, Edgar remained on the card and took on high-flying contender Brian Ortega on short notice in a fight that would essentially determine Holloway’s next challenger.
Despite being the betting favorite, “The Answer” was shockingly finished for the first time in his career as Ortega caught him with an elbow before ending the contest in the first round with a devastating uppercut.
Edgar is taking the loss well according to Henry, who believes his fighter looked good for a majority of the first round until the elbow changed the course of the fight.
“He didn’t get hit until 4.5 minutes in,” Henry told ESPN. “I thought he was winning the round. Honestly, I was more pumped for this fight than the title. I think he cemented his legacy, taking on anybody, anytime — and beating a young lion would have shut up everyone asking about his age.”
“If he was getting tooled or rocked, I would say it. Getting hit with an elbow is different than a punch. It’s a different force. I’ve seen a lot of guys gets knocked out and they can’t remember the fight, asking the same question over and over, wobbly, complaining of a headache. Frankie had none of that.”
Edgar was notably the former UFC lightweight champion at 155 pounds and is still considered small for the featherweight division, having dropped down 10 pounds to compete in it back in 2013. The difference in size with Ortega was evident on the night and Henry believes the New Jersey native would fare much better fighting people his own size for once in the bantamweight division, but only if there is a title involved.
“I’ll tell you one thing: I would love to see Frankie fight at 135,” Henry added. “Every time Frankie has fought somebody his own size, he’s done very well. I re-watched the fight for the first time this weekend, and all these people had tweeted about how much bigger Brian looked. I watched it and said, ‘Holy cow, he was a lot bigger.’ It’s tough when you’re giving up size, height and range. Frankie got caught as he overstepped. He paid the price, but that’s what you have to do to compensate for that range. You have to come hard.”
“Honestly, I don’t think he’ll move down unless it’s for a title. I think for him, it’s a toughness thing. I’m guessing he looks at it as moving down looks like a weakness. Well, that’s his weight. If Frankie is 15 pounds less than someone on fight night, that’s three weight classes in boxing. That’s a lot.”