One of the most anticipated fights of 2013 takes place Saturday night as former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar will be dropping down to his natural weight class of featherweight to challenge the division’s kingpin Jose Aldo. Whilst Edgar has lost his last two title fights to Benson Henderson, both results were considered highly controversial ones leading most to still consider Edgar as the top lightweight in the world.
With his recent string of bad luck at lightweight, Edgar believed that the timing was finally right to test the waters at featherweight. The former champ was always considered the smaller competitor in the 155lbs division and whilst that did not stop him from winning, many, including UFC President Dana White, always questioned his decision not drop to featherweight.
“I just felt the timing was right to move to featherweight,” Edgar stated in the UFC pre-fight interview, “Right now it’s a good time for me. It’s a new landscape for myself with new opponents and new possibilities.”
Even though dropping to 145lbs was a natural progression for Edgar, many wonder if the drop would negatively impact his performance come Saturday night. A bad weight cut could lead slower movement and a noticeable decrease in strength and stamina. The former champ is aware of this criticism and denies the possibility of a bad weight cut.
“I don’t think I am going to be any weaker or any slower. After I make weight, I will come in at pretty much what I weighed when I fought at 155. I think my speed will be the same if not quicker and strength-wise, pound-for-pound I think I am a pretty strong guy so I am comfortable there.”
Whilst the division may be filled with new opportunities, it is also filled with new dangers and a dominant champion that has not lost a bout in over six years. According to Edgar, Aldo may be more explosive than the guys at lightweight, but he won’t have the power that several lightweights posses.
“The power is definitely bearable compared to the guys at 155 like Gray [Maynard] and Benson [Henderson]. He doesn’t have the mass they have but he definitely has the pop and explosivness that they don’t have.”
After a turbulent 2012, the former lightweight champ will be looking to start 2013 by cementing himself as the third man to win UFC titles in two separate divisions. A win over Aldo would undoubtedly place Edgar as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters on the planet.
“To beat Jose Aldo, to beat one of the best pound-for-pound guys in our game and the best 145 pounder ever, it would be huge for me. I’m gonna go home and I am gonna be the 145 pound champion.”