If moxie and toughness could be tangibly measured in UFC fighters then Frankie Edgar‘s number would be off the chart.
From surviving near finishes against Gray Maynard in the second and third battles of their trilogy to defeating B.J. Penn -the greatest lightweight of all-time- twice, he’s proved it time and time again.
Edgar has a chance to defeat another great fighter when he takes on Jose Aldo at UFC 153 in Brazil.
Immediately Aldo opened as a betting and fan favorite. Aldo’s explosiveness and and athleticism are problems that Edgar will need to deal with. But the former lightweight champion always defied the odds until running into Ben Henderson.
Aldo is a different animal though. Aldo is an Anderson Silva level striker who punishes opponents with leg kicks. During Aldo’s featherweight title fight with Urijah Faber back in the WEC, Faber’s leg took a pounding. It was clear who was the better fighter. And that is Aldo.
How can Edgar fare differently?
Heart and determination doesn’t secure a victory versus Aldo, he’s too talented. Edgar will have to utilize his boxing skills. The least used facet of striking in the UFC is the jab. Edgar and welterweight champ, Georges St. Pierre are fighters who include the jab in their repertoire. If used correctly, the jab can neutralize an opponent’s explosiveness to a certain degree. The jab forces both competitors into a technical bob and weave boxing match. In essence, Aldo will be forced to play the standing point game.
No one out points Edgar. If Edgar can force a boxing match he will have the advantage while the fight is standing.
Edgar needs to check Aldo’s leg kicks. That will be a tricky proposition. The shots to the leg inflict damage and allow Aldo to keep opponents guessing. When you’re worried about the leg kick you’re out of position for the take down or an overhand right.
If Edgar can stay disciplined and check every leg kick he can win a standing battle.
Aldo is too talented not to put Edgar in a few bad positions. Edgar is too good not to survive a steady barrage of punches from any fighter. He has an iron chin.
Aldo, will not be able to put Edgar away. Penn couldn’t, Maynard couldn’t, Henderson couldn’t and Aldo will not finish Edgar.
Moving down will give Edgar more power.
At lightweight he was the smallest fighter in the division. He did not have much punching power. So he couldn’t bring an instant end to contests the way that Aldo can.
It also hurt in the eyes of the judges. Since Edgar was a smaller fighter he bruised easily and showed more effects of damage. Moving down will limit the amount of outward damage to his face and limbs. Edgar will not have as many black eyes after his matches conclude.
Edgar is a fighter who can challenge anyone pound-for-pound. That includes Jose Aldo.
I can’t see Edgar losing three times in a row. His will to win is too great.
Do not sleep on Frankie Edgar. He will be the featherweight champion after grinding out a split decision.