Who would have thought after watching Gray Maynard essentially out-power and out-wrestle Frankie Edgar to a decision victory back at UFC Fight Night: Florian vs. Lauzon in 2008 that the two would go on to engage in one of the most dramatic, entertaining three-fight series in the sport?
The two met for a second time after Frankie Edgar had beaten BJ Penn twice to become the new lightweight champion and Maynard had slogged his way through a deep division of contenders to become the number one contender. UFC 125 went down on New Year’s Day of 2011 and played host to the fight, which saw Edgar rebound from a clear 10-8 first round to arguably win the rest of the bout. The judges saw it a draw, though, and the rubber match was scheduled immediately.
Injuries cancelled their third meeting initially, so they finally stepped into the cage against one another this past Saturday, October 8, at UFC 136. The rubber match began as the rematch did, with the smaller champ getting pasted from one side of the cage to the other, barely hanging on through a barrage of punches delivered by the challenger. This time, it looked even worse for The Answer, as Maynard was clearly doing his best not to gas himself out during his first round assault as he did in the rematch. Regardless of Maynard’s more patient attack, Edgar again rallied back to take the fight’s momentum – but this time, he finished the job.
Edgar put Maynard down in the fourth round with a slick sequence that begin with a takedown attempt and an uppercut The Bully never saw coming. When the dust settled, Maynard sat in the cage with a look of complete bewilderment on his face while Edgar celebrated his TKO victory. With things in the cage settled between them (for now at least, but likely for good) the two men have nothing but respect and goodwill toward the other.
“Hats off to Frank Edgar,” Maynard posted on Twitter. “Great competitor and person, true champ! Its been fun, now its my turn to show I got heart and (I will) work my way back up.”
The champ also took to Twitter to express his gratitude for Maynard and wish him well as he returns to the back of the lightweight pack.
“I wanna wish Gray the best in the future, he was my toughest opponent as he forced me to Bring the best out of myself,” wrote Edgar.
For a recap of the latest chapter in their epic battle, check out FightLine’s shot-for-shot coverage of UFC 136.