Frankie Edgar Says Interim Titles Have ‘Left A Stain On MMA’

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In the co-main event of UFC 222 tonight (March 3, 2018) live on pay-per-view (PPV) from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar will take on surging contender Brian Ortega.

Originally, however, Edgar was supposed to challenge 145-pound champion Max Holloway, but “Blessed” was forced to withdraw with an injury.

He could have waited for Holloway to return and no one would have blamed him, but as an iron-willed throwback to a different era of MMA, “The Answer” isn’t fond of how the UFC has been handing out interim titles as fighters become more and more picky about signing on for a fight.

At the end of the day, the 36-year-old Edgar Edgar said Thursday at UFC 222 media day (via MMAFighting) simply wanted to remain on the card and remain active:

“My fans don’t want to see me not fight. Even some of my friends were telling me to wait and sit … but I think the real fans just want to see guys fight,” . “They want to see good fights. Titles, all this interim stuff and everything, picking and choosing nowadays, it’s definitely left a little bit of a stain, I think, on the sport, so if I can just go out there and just put on a show for everybody, that’s [what I want to do].

“I just want to be active, period,” Edgar said. “I haven’t fought in almost in a year. I didn’t want to sit out for a year. But yeah, I’m not going to get these days back. Time’s ticking. I’m 36 years old; don’t feel it, don’t look it, but it’s the facts and I’m not going to get those years back. So I don’t want to sit idle and let those years pass.”

“The Answer” will be facing a tough test in Ortega though, as the submission ace has compiled a 5-0(1) Octagon record. Knowing this, Edgar said that he needs to come out strong:

“[Ortega] is a great submission guy, but I think his gameness is the biggest thing,” Edgar said. “He’s been down. In his UFC career, he’s been down in a lot of his fights and he finds a way to win, even in third round. I think he has the most third-round finishes. That just goes to show you that he’s more game than probably, maybe anyone I’ve fought. That’s a dangerous guy. You can be up on the cards and think you’re smooth sailing, and he’ll find a way to win. So I’ve got to make sure I’m 100 percent focused.

“It’s only three rounds. You give up that first round, you’ve only got two to make it up, so you want to make sure you go out there and start hot. A five-round fight, you can maybe give up that first round, start slow and pour it on, especially someone like myself. But I’ve got to make sure I’m guns blazing out the gate.”

Who do you expect to come out on top in tonight’s co-main event?