In the main event of UFC 240 on Saturday night from the Rogers Center in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, featherweight champion Max Holloway and former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar will finally do battle.
The two have been scheduled to meet on multiple occasions, but the bout has always seemed to fall through. Despite the history and unfinished business of sorts between the two, however, many were surprised with this booking.
There’s no denying the fact that Edgar ranks amongst the best fighters of all time. Upon the announcement, some just didn’t see him as the most deserving contender. After all, “The Answer” is just 1-1 in his last two fights. Alexander Volkanovski, meanwhile, is riding a 17-fight winning streak that includes seven UFC victories.
Ultimately though, Edgar shouldn’t be concerned with those opinions. In the end, he’s been given his shot and this time, it appears as if it’ll actually come to fruition. What could potentially be on his mind, however, is that this very well could be his last shot to challenge for UFC gold.
UFC Entry and Lightweight Title Run
At 37 years of age, Edgar has competed amongst the best fighters in the world for years now.
After compiling a 6-0 record, Edgar signed with the UFC in 2007 and earned three more victories. He then suffered the first loss of his professional career: a unanimous decision loss to Gray Maynard in April 2008.
That hiccup didn’t set Edgar back too far, however, as he picked up three more victories before earning a shot at then lightweight champion BJ Penn in April 2010. To the surprise of some, Edgar bested Penn to become the 155-pound champion. He then once again outclassed him in their rematch four months later.
Following the battles with Penn, Edgar twice defended his title in back-to-back instant classics with Maynard, fighting to a draw in their rematch and then earning a unanimous decision in the rubber match in 2011.
‘The Answer’s’ title reign would soon come to an end, however, as he suffered close defeats in back-to-back losses to Benson Henderson. And with the end of his title reign came the end of his days as a lightweight.
Move Down To Featherweight
Upon deciding to drop down in weight to 145 pounds, Edgar was booked against then-champion Jose Aldo at UFC 156. The two would go toe-to-toe for five rounds with Edgar pushing the longtime champion to his limits. It was Aldo, though, who came out on top.
As always, ‘The Answer’ faced adversity head-on and bounced back with a vengeance. He scored five-straight victories to earn a rematch with Aldo for the interim title at UFC 200. This time, however, the contest proved to be far less competitive, as Aldo was dominant from bell to bell.
After a second loss to Aldo, the road back to a title shot appeared to be a difficult one for Edgar. Then, however, Holloway finished Aldo at UFC 212 in 2017. The win injected new life into a division that had become a bit stagnant.
The Road To UFC 240
With a new champion at the helm, Edgar once again had a clear path to a title shot. And after scoring consecutive victories over Jeremy Stephens and Yair Rodriguez, Edgar was given his shot against Holloway at UFC 218. As previously mentioned though, the bout fell through after Edgar suffered an injury.
Then, the two were re-booked for UFC 222 a few months later, but this time Holloway was forced to withdraw. Edgar, however, elected to remain on the card, accepting a short-notice bout with the then surging Brian Ortega. This proved to be a risky decision, as ‘The Answer’ was brutally knocked out by Ortega in the first round.
Following that loss, the New Jersey native quickly returned to the Octagon the following month. In doing so, he picked up a victory over Cub Swanson, which brings us to where we are today.
Over the course of his career, Edgar has fought and beaten some of the best this sport has to offer in two different weight classes. In addition, he’s a former champion who’s consistently fought to get back to where he was.
And as he mentioned on the UFC 240 Countdown episode, he’s been looking to return to that top spot since he lost his lightweight title.
“Once you taste that world title around your waist, man you yearn for it,” Edgar said.
Given his age and the fact that he’s come up short in multiple attempts at gaining the featherweight belt, this could very well be his last chance to recapture that feeling. If he pulls off the upset on Saturday night, Edgar will add another breathtaking moment to his resume and another title to his trophy case. If he doesn’t, however, we could be witnessing the end of what was truly a remarkable career.