It’s a common consensus among MMA fans that when Frankie Edgar finally decides to hang up his gloves and retire, he will go down as one of the all-time greats.
A former lightweight champion and a serious contender at featherweight, Edgar is now finally fighting at his most “natural” weight class according to many, at 135lbs at bantamweight.
After a long awaited debut against Pedro Munhoz saw him fight well to a split decision win, he will now take on ‘Sandman’ Cory Sandhagen as both men look to put their name in the hate for title contention.
Sandhagen was in the mix previously, having racked up five wins in a row after making his debut with the company back in January 2018, before falling to the now number one contender Aljamain Sterling in humiliating fashion.
The two met at UFC 250 knowing the winner would get to face the winner of Petr Yan and Jose Aldo in a title shot, and Sterling swarmed Sandhagen immediately and secured a submission victory in just 88 seconds.
He bounced back on Fight Island in October though, with a vicious knockout win over Marlon Moraes in round two of their main event clash. But a fight against Edgar is arguably the biggest of his career so far.
Having come so far to get the Sterling fight and then failing miserably, he did better than many expected when he stopped Moraes the way he did. He looked light on his feet, aggressive in the striking exchanges and never needed to use his excellent grappling skills either.
He seems to have rounded his game out well, but Edgar has made a career off beating guys that people believed he had no right beating. When you stand them together side by side, this is another of those fights.
But Sandhagen is keen to not only get back in the title picture, but make some noise while he’s there. Wins and losses are part of MMA, but at 28-years-old he will feel there is no time like the present to be challenging for the top honour in the 135lbs weight class in the sport.
Edgar wants another crack at UFC glory having failed three times to become the featherweight champion, but he’s walked himself into the most stacked division in the company. Everyone in the top ten has genuine championship credentials and could all beat each other on different days with the style match ups.
This is one of the better match ups in terms of style for Sandhagen and he knows it. He’s bigger, stronger, faster, hits harder and as good of a grappler against the more experienced Edgar.
A win for ‘Sandman’ cements his spot as the number two ranked fighter and almost guarantees that he gets the next shot at the title – unless TJ Dillashaw gets granted an immediate rematch.
But not only does it help him, it likely ends any chance of Edgar wearing gold in the UFC ever again.