UFC 281: Frankie Edgar KO’d by Chris Gutierrez Knee in Retirement Fight

Frankie Edgar and Chris Gutierrez, UFC 281
Frankie Edgar and Chris Gutierrez, UFC 281 weigh-in Credit: Youtube/UFC

The man, the myth, the legend: Frankie Edgar announced earlier this year that his last fight would take place on the UFC 281 card at Madison Square Garden.

Edgar’s retirement comes after a storied career where he captured gold at a division that would prove to be at least two weight classes bigger than where he could have or should have been fighting. Tied for the longest title reign in the history of one of the UFC’s marquee divisions, owner of three wins over fellow legend BJ Penn, and participant in arguably the greatest MMA trilogy of all-time with Gray Maynard, there was no doubt that Frankie would ascend to the Hall of Fame not long after this final fight.

His opponent at UFC 281 was the impressive but as of yet unranked Chris Gutierrez, who had not lost in eight fights, going back to his UFC debut in 2018. The man perhaps best known for his violent low kicks was not going to take it easy on the forty year old legend across the cage from him if the press conference was any indication. ‘El Guapo’ sent verbal jabs Frankie’s way multiple times on Wednesday and the intensity for both men had been turned up to eleven by the time they faced off, jawing at each other all the while.

When they met in the center a dance of footwork ensued. Frankie tried to get inside to box on the longer man while Gutierrez looked to get an angle to land his infamous leg kicks. Early on a spinning backfist caught Frankie but the legend ate it. However, the leg kicks were already taking a toll. Feinted and real spins and front kicks gave misdirection so Edgar could never predict when a real leg kick would be coming. Two minutes into the fight, Chris Gutierrez stepped in with a high knee as Frankie came forward and level changed. He caught Frankie and put him out cold. As sad as this was for Frankie and his fans, this was the biggest win of his career, he looked nearly perfect, and he would have a ranking next to his name on Tuesday.

As Edgar sat on the stool, Gutierrez came over and hugged him. The warriors exchanged a few words just for the two of them. As the two teams were talking, the crowd started a chant of “Frankie Edgar,” showing just how much this man is loved, inside and outside of the octagon. Not many men can get cheered for like that after losing by knockout, but Frankie can hold his head high as he retires and enjoy life with his family, knowing he was one of the best to ever do it.

In an emotional post-fight interview Chris Gutierrez revealed that his mom and his friend are both battling cancer and that he feels like he has to fight the best he can for them. He said, “I’m trying to hold it in,” but it was clear how emotional he was, and understandably so with so much going on in his life.

Joe Rogan then went to talk to Frankie Edgar for his retirement speech. Frankie addressed the cruel nature of the sport, as well as his love for it, but then reiterated that his family is all that really matters. It was a typically classy last speech from a man so universally loved.

Official Result: Chris Gutierrez def. Frankie Edgar by KO (knee), Round 1, 2:01