It was his fifth title shot. It was also his fifth consecutive loss in a title bout. Against featherweight champion Max Holloway, Frankie Edgar was left frustrated, with his face swollen and his heart broken. UFC 240 may have been the last time we will ever see Edgar in an MMA cage.
Why is that important?
When fans think of Edgar’s name, a few things come to mind. Toms River, N.J. — Edgar’s birthplace — might be one. The idea of Edgar as one of the best lighter-weight fighters ever might be another.
How about heart? Edgar has personified that every time he’s stepped into the cage. He took on anyone, anywhere, anytime. No matter how outsized he was. No matter the reputation. No matter the location. If a doctor cleared him, he was there.
When Edgar won his title in 2010 against a savage B.J. Penn, many debated the judges’ call to award Edgar with the victory. He took an immediate rematch with Penn and left no doubt, dominating the Hawaiian for five rounds.
Next came Gray Maynard, the man who handed Edgar his first professional loss nearly three years earlier. Maynard knocked the champ down several times in the first round of their title scrap, but he somehow was unable to keep Edgar down. The champ rallied to make the fight a draw. The two met again nine months later. The third installment in their series started off identical to the second, with the hulking Maynard knocking Edgar around the cage. This time, though, Edgar remained standing and ended it with a Rocky-esque knockout of his rival in the fourth round.
Edgar has always spoken with his fists rather than his mouth. In the cage, he was one of the first fighters to create the movement in striking for volume over power. He fought and won at lightweight, which many to this day still believe to be two weight classes too high for Edgar. It didn’t deter him. He also knew the advantages of not draining his body or focusing too much of a training camp to the weight cut. It proved to be a good choice, and now many are following the same ideology.
Yet, for some reason, Edgar was still doubted. This made his wins that much better. He always rose to the occasion. It never mattered that José Aldo was undefeated for nearly seven years. It didn’t matter that Maynard and Benson Henderson were bigger and stronger. It didn’t matter how many fighters Brian Ortega had finished. Or how bad any of those fights may have been for Edgar’s health.
Edgar is a fighter, through and through. He is not a prize fighter or a martial artist. He is simply a fighter.
Edgar may have left Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, without a belt. He may have left with one of the worst beatings he’s ever taken. He might have left the Octagon forever. Win, lose or draw, it doesn’t matter the result at this point. If you’re a fan of mixed martial arts, you’ll remember the name Frankie Edgar.