Lightweight champ believes Japanese fans will embrace him
Not 24 hours after watching Ben Henderson beat Clay Guida in one of the year’s best fights, Frankie Edgar was in the “Man, I Wish That Fight Was On Fox” club.
Edgar had plenty of reasons to pay closer attention than anyone on the planet, though, since he knew he would defend his UFC lightweight title against the winner. And once he knew he would be meeting Henderson, his response was pretty simple.
“My hands are going to be full for sure,” Edgar told Heavy.com the day after UFC on Fox.
Soon after Henderson-Guida, he knew his hands would be full on the other side of the world in the UFC 144 main event in Japan. Edgar’s track record outside the United States is perfect – at 1-0. The only time he’s fought outside the States, he took BJ Penn‘s title at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi.
After successful defenses against Penn in the rematch at UFC 118 and Gray Maynard at UFC 125 (the infamous draw) and UFC 136, Edgar said the idea of fighting in Japan excites him.
“I’m excited to go over there just because the Japanese fan base is going to be pretty cool,” Edgar said. “Pride was huge over there, MMA’s huge – it’s the birthplace of martial arts. So what better place to defend your title than there?”
Moreover, Edgar (14-1-1, 9-1-1 UFC) believes his style lends itself to something the Japanese MMA fans, at the Saitama Super Arena on Feb. 25 and beyond, can embrace.
“I think they really appreciate the fighting spirit.,” Edgar said “I bring it every time I fight, so I think they’ll appreciate that.”
For the first time in two years, Edgar gets to train for someone other than Penn or Maynard. His fourth-round TKO of Maynard last month in Houston, he said, was just what the doctor ordered – but he has no problem moving on to Henderson.
“It’s really tough to predict how he’s going to approach it and what he’s thinking,” Edgar said of his opponent. “I think Clay kind of drew him into that fast pace, anyway. Maybe he’ll come in and be more technical, or maybe he’ll be the one who wants to push the pace. That’s the kind of guessing game we’ll be thinking about these next couple of months.”