From the moment Max Holloway landed the final punch to finish Jose Aldo in June to become featherweight champion, Frankie Edgar was waiting to get the first shot at the new king of the division.
Edgar has long been considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world after reigning as lightweight champion and then dropping down to 145-pounds where he’s been unbeatable outside of two fights against Aldo.
In May, Edgar silenced any doubters that he was somehow losing a step when he handed highly touted prospect Yair Rodriguez a lopsided beating before the fight was stopped due to the sheer damage that he had accumulated on the former ‘Ultimate Fighter’ winner over two rounds.
Now as he approaches his third featherweight title fight, Edgar’s confidence hasn’t slipped whatsoever even considering Holloway will step into their bout after winning his last 10 fights in a row in the UFC.
“I think it’s exciting. I match up well with him. I matchup well with anybody,” Edgar told MMAWeekly.com. “I feel like I can excel in different areas in this game and I think I mix it up probably better than anybody except maybe a few guys. I think the fact that I can mix it up, keep him guessing, he can’t just keep coming without being a little weary about what I’ll do next.
“He brings a heavy pace like myself so it’s going to be an exciting fight. We’re definitely not going to have to look for each other.”
It’s tough to argue against Edgar’s logic considering his boxing has become some of the best in the sport under head coach Mark Henry and his roots will always lie in wrestling where he’s been able to ground nearly every opponent he’s ever faced.
The variety of weapons give Edgar the opportunity to give Holloway a lot of different looks over five rounds and that’s just another reason why the top ranked contender is convinced this will bring a huge spotlight to the featherweight division.
“I think this is the biggest fight Max could fight at featherweight,” Edgar said. “Conor’s gone, I think it’s the biggest fight against me.”
Of course it’s still nearly impossible to talk about the featherweight division without at least mentioning Conor McGregor’s name considering he won the title with a vicious 13-second knockout over Jose Aldo in 2015 and then never returned to the weight class again.
By all accounts, McGregor has given no indication that he intends to return to featherweight either, but it’s tough to escape the shadow he casts on the division.
That being said, Edgar knows that Holloway beating Aldo in June and then their matchup scheduled for UFC 218 on Dec. 2 in Detroit are great fights that will certainly help the featherweight division to move past McGregor.
“Things are mixing up, we’ve got some young blood at the top right now and it’s only going to get better,” Edgar said about the featherweight division. “These weights at 155, 170 [pounds] have been stalwarts for a long time. 145, 135 [pounds] is just going to get better and better. These divisions are just going to get tougher and tougher.
“I’m excited all around about 145 right now.”
While Holloway and Edgar will both inevitably answer questions about McGregor in the weeks leading to their fight, the 36-year old New Jersey native promises that the UFC 218 main event will satisfy everyone in attendance or watching at home on pay-per-view.
What you’re looking at in Holloway and Edgar are two of the very best fighters on the planet regardless of the weight class and that’s plenty of reason to enjoy what’s about to unfold on Dec. 2.
“We’ve both got the dog in us and we’re going to scrap it out and willing to take a little damage to get it done, too,” Edgar said. “That just makes for an exciting fight.”