UFC Vegas 7: Edgar Finally Debuts at Bantamweight Against Munhoz

UFC Vegas 7's Pedro Munhoz and Frankie Edgar
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 21: (L-R) Opponents Pedro Munhoz of Brazil and Frankie Edgar face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at UFC APEX on August 21, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

After an already storied career, Frankie Edgar looks to write a new chapter as he moves down in weight to take on Pedro Munhoz for a chance to enter the title conversation at UFC Vegas 7.

Former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar has been a perennial title contender longer than most fighters have been in the UFC overall.  He’s challenged Benson Henderson for the lightweight title, Jose Aldo (twice) and Max Holloway for the featherweight title all since losing the belt in 2012.  In the last decade, he has faced an old guard of veterans such as BJ Penn and Jeremy Stephens and the next wave of MMA phenoms such as Yair Rodriguez and Brian Ortega.  Perhaps the biggest testament to his run is the fact that throughout it all, Edgar has consistently performed as one of the top contenders in the division who is still capable of pushing the elite to the limit and winning on any given night.

A veteran of the UFC since 2007, there are many questions for the 38-year-old Edgar.  In the deep shark tanks at both lightweight and featherweight, another title shot in the near future for “The Answer” is unlikely.  Nearly always the smaller athlete in the cage, Edgar moving down to bantamweight is a move many have suggested for years.  That said, many also wonder if he still has another title run left in him.  Edgar is a big name entering the division, but his former teammate Marlon Moraes and Aljamain Sterling are already well-established in the title picture and it figures that Edgar will need some luck to get into a title fight without dispatching several top contenders first.

Pedro Munhoz is hoping another emphatic victory over a former champion will get himself back into title contention.  The Brazilian veteran fighting out of Torrance, California is looking to regain the momentum he had last year after shocking former champion Cody Garbrandt with a first round knockout.  “The Young Punisher” was then matched up with top contender Aljamain Sterling who bested him by decision, forcing Munhoz to regroup as he looks to get back up the rankings.

Munhoz’s four setbacks in the UFC have all been at the hands of high-level competition.  The aforementioned Sterling has been hailed by many as a future champion, and Jimmie Rivera, John Dodson, and Raphael Assuncao have all been in title contention throughout their careers.  The fight with Edgar comes after many trials as well.  Originally set to take place in July, Munhoz was forced to withdraw just days out from the bout after testing positive for COVID-19.  That said, with the loss of Yoel Romero vs Uriah Hall in the co-headliner, even more attention is set to be paid to the main event and that means a huge opportunity for Munhoz to steal the show and propel himself forward.

There is question if whether or not the battles and overall miles on Frankie Edgar may finally begin to deteriorate his durability, especially considering he is cutting more weight to get down to 135 pounds.  Assuming that time has not arrived, Edgar figures to be a slightly faster, if less powerful, version of himself and that means his vaunted footwork is crucial to avoiding getting into exchanges with the heavy-hitting Munhoz.  Furthermore, he should utilize his wrestling as the power of Munhoz will be nullified on the mat.  For Munhoz, the key will be to push forward and corral Edgar into the fence where he has less space to move.  The smaller cage of the UFC Apex helps in that effort, but it is also on Munhoz to be efficient and conserve energy if he is struggling to connect on the well conditioned Edgar over five rounds.

A win for Munhoz figures to propel him toward bigger competition where names like José Aldo and Dominick Cruz stand out as potential opponents.  Edgar’s star power as a former champion could set him up against a top contender as well.  Depending on the timing, Edgar could find himself facing someone involved in the upcoming fight between Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen or the rumored title fight between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling.