Edgar happy to fight in UFC’s return trip to Japan
In the world of mixed martial arts, things move at a rapid pace. It can be difficult for a fighter to carve his own niche in the sport, especially when trying to do so in the most talented weight class in existence. Few know how grinding this process can be better than UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
Over the past three years, Edgar has used every ounce of his mind, body and spirit to solidify his position as the best lightweight fighter on the planet. He pulled off one of the biggest upsets in UFC history by defeating former two-divisional champion B.J. Penn, and then quickly erased any talk of it being a fluke performance by thoroughly dominating the Hawaiian four months later.
His next two fights against Gray Maynard proved that Edgar had the resiliency it takes to battle back from the brink of defeat. Over the course of nine rounds with Maynard, he gave credence to the saying “down but never out” and displayed the type of heart and determination that become burned into a sport’s history.
No matter the term used to describe him, Edgar is happy as long as he’s the champion.
“Being a champion in this sport insures you never run out of challenges,” Edgar said. “With every fight my confidence grows. I begin to feel like a champion more and more every day. The UFC is the best organization in the world and if you are the best here, you’re the best in the world without a doubt.
With the Penn and Maynard chapters to his career closed for now, Edgar now looks forward to his next challenge inside the UFC’s Octagon. “The Answer” won’t have to wait long, as he will defend his title against number one contender Benson Henderson in February at UFC Japan. Henderson emerged from a crowded pack of contenders to get his shot at championship gold, and Edgar is looking forward to the match-up and being a part of the UFC’s first return to Japan since UFC 29 in 2000.
“I think Ben Henderson deserves this title shot,” Edgar said. “The lightweight division is one of the deepest and one most closely contested weight classes in the UFC and [Ben] came in and beat three top ranked guys. If you match up any one of the guys ranked 1 through 10, those fights can go a lot of different ways. He has an exciting style, always brings the fight and I know this is going to be great for the fans.
“Fighting in Japan is going to present some challenges but I’m excited. There is a 12-hour difference and fighting in a foreign land isn’t easy but I’m looking forward to it. I was able to be a part of the UFC’s first trip to Abu Dhabi and it will be nice, 10 years down the road, to know I was able to be a part of this story when the UFC goes to Japan.”
After his “Fight of the Year” performance at UFC 125 and his come-from-behind victory in Houston, Edgar has quickly become a fan favorite. While he’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done, his continued evolution and putting on exciting fights is what matters most.
“Those types of performances definitely show toughness and makes it exciting for the fans, but I don’t want to make a habit of if,” Edgar explains. “But if that is what it takes for me to get the win, I’ll do it every time.
“I always say fans are going to see a better Frankie Edgar than they did the last fight. That means I’ve done my work, put the time in and I’ve improved. My goal every time out is to be a better fighter and that is what I’m going to continue to do.”