Former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar knows a thing or two about being the underdog.
Edgar (24-8-1) was perennially undersized when he ruled the roost at 155lbs in the UFC. Even at featherweight, he was fighting opponents who, thanks to the reality of weight cutting in MMA, walked around considerably heavier than him.
Now, Edgar is entering his second fight at 135lbs. But at age 39, he remains the underdog against UFC Vegas 18 opponent Cory Sandhagen this weekend. In fact, Edgar’s entire UFC career was recently called “improbable” by ESPN, even if his continued success feels far from it at this point.
“I don’t think I’m the favorite many times in my fights, especially the older I get, seems like,” Edgar told Cageside Press this week during a virtual media day to promote UFC Vegas 18. Whether or not his success really is improbable, the underdog mindset “seems natural, it’s kind of normal to me,” he explained. “I can’t help but, everyone seems to bring up the fact that I’m the underdog. That puts the pressure on this guy [Sandhagen]. If you look at the line, he’s supposed to go in there and walk through me, which is kind of laughable a little bit.”
Given age and the realities of fighting at the top of the lower weight classes for so long, any run at the title that Edgar makes now will likely be his last. Edgar does believe that a win Saturday could land him a fight for the title. “I think the winner of me and Cory are right there. Put on a good performance, and I could be fighting for that belt next,” he noted.
But what would a second title reign, were it to happen, look like for Edgar at this point in his career? Would he attempt to defend the throne, or ride off into the sunset, as few others ever have? “Obviously I’d still be competitive if I’m the champion. As long as my body’s good, I’d probably still fight,” Edgar suggsted. “Like I said, I do enjoy this.”
It’s hard to walk away in the end, it seems. And, being honest, sports fans love to see the old guys get one last shot at glory. That’s the case for Edgar, and it’s the case in the NFL this weekend, where Tom Brady, with a new team, is once again in the Superbowl. Bucs vs. Chiefs.
Brady is 43 years young. The big game goes down Sunday. Frankie Edgar knows exactly who he is rooting for.
“I’m obviously pulling for the old guy, but the Chiefs look pretty good. So we’ll see,” he told us. “I’m pulling for Brady.”
Frankie Edgar faces off with Cory Sandhagen in a key bantamweight battle at UFC Vegas 18 (UFC Fight Night 184) this Saturday, February 6 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV.