After Max Holloway decisively defeated Frankie Edgar by unanimous decision at UFC 240, Frankie’s career is at a turning point. This was a long-awaited fight between the two men as Frankie Edgar has hoped of becoming the featherweight champion for years.
This dream was dashed twice already by José Aldo, first at UFC 156 and then again UFC 200. After that last fight, Holloway would beat Aldo and become the champ. Holloway was then supposed to fight Edgar at UFC 218, all the way back in late 2017, but Edgar unfortunately broke his face and had to pull out of the fight.
Never running away from a challenge, Edgar returned to the octagon to fight the then undefeated Brian Ortega. Ortega would become the first man to knock Frankie Edgar out. With a performance like that, Ortega earned himself a title shot against Holloway. This setback forced Edgar to go back to the drawing board and earn himself a title shot. Frankie won his next fight against Cub Swanson and that put him back on track for another chance at gold.
In late 2018, Frankie was matched to fight Chan Sung Jung aka the Korean Zombie, but Frankie had to pull out of that bout due to an injury. The Korean Zombie would get knocked out in the last second of the fight by an amazing elbow from Yair Rodriguez, someone Edgar had already beat in 2017.
With no clear contenders in sight, Holloway decided to move up in weight and challenge Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight belt, but Holloway would lose that fight in a 5-round decision.
Still without any clear contenders, Edgar was given another chance to fight Holloway and this time, both men were able to meet each other in the octagon. Edgar’s elite wrestling was easily countered by Holloway’s defensive wrestling.
Not to mention, Holloway’s size and striking advantage allowed him to effortlessly find Edgar’s face with his strikes. This defeat marks his third title fight loss at featherweight. However, it also gave him the distinction of being the only UFC fighter who’s fought for over 7 combined hours in the octagon.
The future of Frankie Edgar
Frankie Edgar was devastated and heartbroken at this loss, as at 37, he doesn’t have much more time to fight professionally. Edgar is as tough as they come, but with so many injuries outside the octagon and with so much punishment from fighting inside the octagon, his career will be ending soon. He’s a smart fighter and he’s not afraid to use his wrestling to minimize the damage he takes, but very few fighters can compete at the highest level at the age of 40.
If Edgar decides to hang up his gloves, no-one will blame him. He’s had an illustrious career in MMA, and he’s widely considered to be one of the best fighters ever at 155 lb. However, Edgar has always been a small man in the weight classes that he’s fought in. One potential path forward for his career is that he moves down to bantamweight, the 135 lb division.
There are many great matchups for Edgar at bantamweight, like Henry Cejudo, the current champ, and an Olympic gold medalist. Another good matchup is Aljamain Sterling, a high-ranked bantamweight wrestler. Alternatively, Frankie Edgar could stay at featherweight, though his chances of winning the title are slim given how decisively Holloway beat him.
If he stays at featherweight, there are still many good fights that the UFC can make for him. Up-and-coming fighters like Zabit Magomedsharipov or Calvin Kattar need an experienced opponent to test their mettle against. More seasoned featherweights like the Korean Zombie or Josh Emmett would also be great fights that fans will enjoy.
While Frankie may never hold UFC gold ever again, two things are for certain. He’s going into the Hall of Fame eventually and fans will always cheer for him, win or lose.