UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar is easily the most underrated champion on the UFC’s roster; he’s yet to make a title defense where he hasn’t been cast as the underdog and, despite retaining the title after facing both BJ Penn and Gray Maynard, Edgar is still looked at by many as not having what it takes to be a proper UFC champion.
How anyone can make that claim following “The Answer’s” last title defense is hard to understand; the New Jersey native was forced into a gut check moment and passed through with flying colors. In the first round of his fight against Gray Maynard — the only man who claims a victory over him — Edgar was knocked from one cage post to another and the fight seemed only moments away from being stopped on more than one occasion.
But then the bell rang and Edgar, though on shaky legs, still stood.
He battled back against “The Bully” for the remainder of the five round tilt and did enough by the estimation of quite a few to have earned the nod. The judges didn’t see it that way, and called the back and forth fight a draw when all was said and done, leaving both fighters heartbroken and dissatisfied.
The two men are now awaiting a rubber match once they’re both healthy enough for a third go-round; Edgar recently spoke with MMAJunkie.com to discuss his recovery from back injury, what he’s taken away from his second fight with Maynard and what he sees in store in his future as champion..
“You always have to try to pull a positive out of any situation,” Edgar said of his UFC 125 fight with Maynard. “That was definitely the positive, that I still walked away with the belt. But in reality, I didn’t come away with a win. I was a little disappointed in that.”
Edgar suffered a back injury which forced a cancellation of his May-scheduled third bout with “The Bully” and has since been on the mend. He told MMAJunkie that he’s finally seeing signs of progress and is slowly returning to full force in the gym.
“I’ve been training for the past two, three weeks light, and I’m starting to get into it pretty heavy now,” Edgar said. “As long as I stay injury free and keep training hard, I feel like I can get better. I’m close to the beginning of my prime. I still feel my jiu-jitsu and my boxing can improve, and my wrestling for MMA can improve. I still feel I haven’t reached my 100-percent potential.”
Having been called out by a few of his impatient peers while sitting on the shelf, Edgar explained that it simply comes with the territory and that he’ll meet them all on the battlefield in due time.
“Every time I fight, I show up,” Edgar said. “That’s the bottom line. That just comes with the territory. Heavy lies the crown. This is the position I want to be in. I’ve got a bull’s-eye painted on me, but I’m prepared to defend at all costs.”