UFC: Five Potential Opponents for Frankie Edgar’s Bantamweight Debut

Cody Garbrandt
Cody Garbrandt Credit: Rodney James Edgar/Cageside Press

Cody Garbrandt (#7)

One of the tougher potential matchups for Edgar is former bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt. Currently ranked seventh in the division, Garbrandt has lost three straight bouts since winning the 135-pound title in December of 2016. Battling various injuries, and losing twice to former champ TJ Dillashaw, set the 28-year old back a bit. He was looking to get back on track in March, but was knocked out in the first round by Pedro Munhoz at UFC 235.

Despite losing three straight, Garbrandt is still a top name at bantamweight. His run to the belt was no fluke, and his skills on the feet and background in wrestling make him a tough match-up for anyone in the division. If speed is a potential issue for Edgar at 135 pounds, Garbrandt is someone who will be able to exploit that fact.

Should Garbrandt do just that, he’ll be back on track with a marquee victory. If Frankie is able to top the former champ, he earns a high-level bantamweight victory and immediately inserts himself into the title-picture. Sounds like a win for everyone involved.

Jimmie Rivera (#8)

Jimmie Rivera was in the UFC bantamweight title-picture not too long ago. But, since June of last year, Rivera has gone 1-3. The losses have come at the hands of Marlon Moraes, Sterling, and Yan, which is nothing to be ashamed of. If Rivera wants to re-insert himself into the 135-pound title discussion, he needs a big win (or two). A win over Frankie Edgar, regardless of the division, is a big one, and could be used to push him back up the rankings.

Much like Garbrandt, a win over Rivera would give Edgar an impressive start to his bantamweight campaign. We would also get to see something rare: Edgar fighting someone who’s shorter than him. If Edgar plans on using his size as an advantage at 135 pounds, Rivera is a good first test to see how well that’ll work against a tough opponent.

Pedro Munhoz
Pedro Munhoz (left) vs. Jimmie Rivera Credit: Gleidson Venga/Sherdog.com

John Dodson (#12)

John Dodson is another fighter who decided to make the move to bantamweight after struggling to win the championship in another division. Instead of dropping down a division, Dodson moved up to bantamweight in 2016, following a couple of title fight losses to Demetrious Johnson.

Dodson has had mixed results thus far, going 3-4, with losses in his last two fights. He’s earned his bantamweight stripes though, fighting the likes of Sterling, Moraes, Munhoz, Rivera, Yan, and more. If other guys aren’t willing to risk their current standing in the UFC bantamweight rankings against a guy like Edgar, and finding a partner for “The Answer” is a tougher task then previously expected, a matchup with Dodson could solve some problems.

Although he’s outside of the top 10, there’s no denying Dodson’s hand speed and striking skills. We’d also, like the Rivera match-up, see how Frankie fares against a fighter he’s taller than. Yes, it’s a lower-profile fight than others on this list, but Edgar, and the promotion, could do worse than a match-up with Dodson for the former lightweight champ’s bantamweight debut.

Let us know who you’d like Frankie Edgar to fight in his bantamweight debut, and how you think “The Answer” will do competing at 135-pounds! Comment below, on Facebook, or reply on Twitter!