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Frankie Edgar will never stop gunning for a UFC title: ‘The day that I don’t want to face the best guys, maybe I shouldn’t be fighting’

UFC Fight Night: Munhoz v Edgar
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Frankie Edgar has never been interested in gimme fights.

When he was competing as a lightweight, the New Jersey native was able to showcase skill over size before eventually becoming a UFC champion. After finally making the move down to 145 pounds, Edgar was a constant presence in the top five rankings while earning a pair of title shots at the undisputed championship.

After facing adversity with a 1-3 resume in his final four fights at featherweight, it appeared perhaps Edgar’s best days were behind him. He answered those calls by taking out Pedro Munhoz in his bantamweight debut while earning Fight of the Night honors along the way.

While he could have asked the UFC for more favorable matchups, or even requested a showdown against another former champion like Dominick Cruz in his next fight, Edgar has never been one to travel down the path of least resistance.

Instead, he wanted an opponent who could get him another shot at UFC gold and his wish was granted with a fight booked at UFC Vegas 18 against No. 2 ranked bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen. To hear him tell it, Edgar wouldn’t want it any other way.

“I’m down for the legend fights, too, but the competitor in me wants to fight the best guys,” Edgar told MMA Fighting. “The day that I don’t want to face the best guys, maybe I shouldn’t be fighting.”

Nearly 14 years after his UFC career started, Edgar is still considered one of the best in the world and that’s not an honor he shares with very many of his contemporaries who began their careers around the same time.

There’s no doubt Edgar is an incredibly talented athlete but plenty of fighters with awe-inspiring skills have come and gone during the time he’s been scratching and clawing his way towards the top of three divisions.

Edgar has never been consumed by his own ego but rather a blue-collar determination that has created a serious stubborn streak to never accept anything but the best for himself.

“I put my heart and soul into this,” Edgar said. “I live this. My family has to live it at times. I always want to do the best. I always want to be in the fight. Just make sure that I’m always trying to be the best person in the world because that’s always my goal.”

Heading into his fight this weekend, Edgar is facing off against a hungry contender in Sandhagen, who just pulled off a highlight-reel spinning wheel kick knockout over former title challenger Marlon Moraes.

According to the odds makers, Sandhagen is nearly a 5-to-1 favorite to win the co-main event at UFC Vegas 18 but that just makes Edgar the unlikely underdog yet again and he’s relished that role for many, many years.

“Ever since I walked in this game, I wanted to fight the best,” Edgar said. “Fighting the best guys are going to get me where I want to be. Cory’s no different. I think it’s a perfect matchup for him and myself.”

If he finds success in the fight against Sandhagen on Saturday night, Edgar could once again put himself into position to challenge for UFC gold.

In fact, that’s exactly what Edgar expects to happen, which is why he didn’t need more than a split second to accept this fight because another upset win puts him right back where he always wants to be.

“I’m considering it a No. 1 contender’s fight,” Edgar said. “Any time you can string together a couple of wins over some top competition, doing what I did in my career, that’s always going to put me at the doorstep.

“I think Cory, he’s kind of put a nice resume up of himself in this bantamweight division so I imagine whoever gets the win will be fighting for the title next after [Aljamain Sterling].”

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