Frankie Edgar’s quest to become just the third UFC fighter to win championships in two divisions came to a halt at UFC 200. He lost to Jose Aldo by unanimous decision in their interim featherweight title fight, missing out on a chance to get a title shot against Conor McGregor.
Down, but not out, Edgar is looking forward to getting back in the octagon.
“I’m disappointed, obviously. I put a lot of work into this. But this ain’t the end of the story quite yet,” Edgar told International Business Times. “I just gotta get back to the drawing board, work on improving and making sure I get my hand raised next time out.”
It was Edgar’s first loss since Feb. 2013 when he first faced Aldo, having moved to the 145-pound division after holding the lightweight title from April 2010 to Feb. 2012. Following his loss three years ago, Edgar became as dominant as anyone in the featherweight division, winning five straight fights against top competition. Two of those victories came by knockout, one was by submission and the other two were unanimous decisions in which he won every round.
But Aldo showed why he was the UFC featherweight champ for more than five years before dropping the belt to McGregor last December.
On paper, the fight was dead even. Both Edgar and Aldo landed 81 total strikes, and Aldo landed just one more significant strike. Edgar, however, was unsuccessful in his attempts to take Aldo down. Aldo appeared to inflict a lot more damage than what he received, and he came on strong at the end of a few rounds when it looked like Edgar previously had the advantage.
“Within the fight he was a little more opportune in timing, and just maybe the timing of the rounds, he might steal it with flurries and whatnot,” Edgar said of Aldo. “He was just the smarter fighter that night.
“He’s one of the best to do it. He’s just as good as he was three years ago. Fighting the best guys, they’re gonna show up and compete, and that’s what he does every time out.”
Aldo will go on to face McGregor for the featherweight title, sometime following McGregor’s rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 202 on Aug. 20. Edgar isn’t sure who he’ll be fighting next, though he still wants to fight at UFC 205 on Nov. 12 when mixed martial arts comes to New York City for the first time.
“I know I’d like to fight in Madison Square Garden,” Edgar said. “We’ll see what happens…I would like to. We’ll see how UFC feels about it.”
A shot at the featherweight belt isn’t completely out of Edgar’s reach. If McGregor retains against Aldo and Edgar gets another victory at 145 pounds, he could find himself back in the title picture in 2017. But Edgar isn’t concerning himself with championships at this time, and he isn’t yet considering dropping to 135 pounds, where he might quickly get a bantamweight title shot.
“I’m not even worried about titles right now,” Edgar said. “I’m just worried about getting back in that win column. First things first, I’d like to get back to winning ways.
“I’d like to get at least another win up here at 145 (pounds) and see where that takes me.”
Even in defeat, Edgar entered the history books at UFC 200. By making it through the fifth round, he became the first fighter to log six total hours of octagon time.
The loss moves Edgar from No.10 to No.14 in the UFC pound-for-pound rankings. He remains the No.2 ranked featherweight behind No.1 contender Aldo and champion McGregor