A shocking changing of the guard took place at this past Saturday night’s (Sat., March 3, 2018) UFC 222 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas when surging contender Brian Ortega knocked out longtime mainstay Frankie Edgar in the co-main event.
Ortega had been stellar throughout his entire unbeaten six-fight UFC run, but few thought he would handle “The Answer” with such ease – especially on the feet considering he was mainly hyped for his stellar Brazilian jiu-jitsu skill.
Edgar was doing well early on, using his trademark movement to land accurate punches on a much bigger Ortega, yet none of them had close to the impact that “T-City’s” eventual lead elbow and the uppercut that followed to drop Edgar like we’ve never seen before did. The loss was a majorly brutal one for Edgar, a throwback fighter who never even considered not taking the fight after champion Max Holloway pulled out of their originally scheduled title fight because he most likely could have waited for Holloway a second time.
The fact that he didn’t is a testament to his true fighting spirit, win or lose, and he’s not going to stop doing that just because he was sent packing.
Edgar’s longtime boxing coach was at the head of a deserved outpouring of support, issuing a statement of full support and praise for the UFC great, and earlier today, the fighter himself addressed the loss. Always classy, Edgar gave his props to Ortega and vowed he’d be back to put it on the line again:
Saturday did not go as planned, congrats to Ortega he definitely got me with some good ones. Thanks to all my peers, my team, my friends, and my fans for their nice words, they don't go unnoticed. All I can do now is dust myself off and get ready to put it all on the line again.
— Frankie Edgar (@FrankieEdgar) March 5, 2018
The former lightweight champ deserves a measure of respect for taking a fight in which he had everything to lose and his only reward was the positioning he had already earned, yet there’s no doubt it’s a big setback for a 36-year-old fighter in a division that’s undergone a major youth movement in the past two years thanks to Holloway and Ortega.
But the iron-willed Edgar is far from done.
The time may be now for Edgar to make a long-rumored move down to 135 pounds if he can because he was towered over by “T-City” in Las Vegas.
Many high-profile fights could await him there, and it could also be a much shorter path to one last title run if he decided he could cut the weight.
He’s fallen short in two featherweight title fights and had two more fall apart due to injury, but a final 145-pound push isn’t out of the question for one of the UFC’s most consistently excellent fighters of all-time.
Where, or whom, do you think Edgar should fight next?