Frankie Edgar hasn’t had the best of luck recently in his quest to reclaim Ultimate Fighting Championship gold.
First, he was scheduled to take on Max Holloway for the featherweight belt back in December, but was forced to pull out of the bout with an injury. The two were then scheduled to face off on March 3, although this time it was Holloway who sustained an injury to his leg while training.
Instead of waiting until Holloway recovered, Edgar decided to take a fight with the No. 3 ranked Brian Ortega. “The Answer,”who hasn’t fought since defeating Yair Rodriguez in May of last year at UFC 211, decided he didn’t want to wait around and answered the UFC’s call once they found a fighter willing to step in on short notice.
Edgar appeared on the “MMA Hour” with Ariel Helwani to discuss what went through his mind upon learning of Holloway’s injury.
“I was pissed, man,” Edgar told Helwani. “Obviously we were supposed to get down in December and I got injured, and now here we go; he gets injured, so it’s just unfortunate. It’s the way things go. I was bummed for a little bit, a little bit depressed, but you know, I got over it, man. I just wanted to stay on the card. I’m itching to fight: it’s been too long, so here we are. Now we’ve got to fight Ortega.”
The decision to accept the fight on short notice was twofold. On one hand, he is not getting any younger and only fought once in 2017. At 36 years of age, he knows he doesn’t have much time left in the sport and his earning potential as an elite fighter is closing. Fighters, unlike other athletes, are not on yearly salaries. They are contracted to a set amount of fights and therefore only get paid if and when they fight.
“Man, I haven’t fought since May. I just didn’t want to wait,” Edgar said. “Time’s ticking and I want to get in there. Last time I got (hurt), I think, three weeks before the fight, so I have a bunch of camps under myself and no fight to show for it, so I just want to go in there and put my skills to use. I only get paid if I fight, so I definitely want to get in there.
“I’m glad it was Ortega, because it makes the most sense,” Edgar added. “He’s No. 3, right under me, and that actually makes the most sense for the division. But yeah, at that point, man, I was just wanting to make sure I had someone to fight.”
UFC 222 takes place on March 3 and is headlined by the women’s featherweight championship bout between the champion Cristiane Justino and former Invicta Fighting Championships queen Yana Kunitskaya.