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Frankie Edgar planning to make bantamweight debut this year

Frankie Edgar planning to make bantamweight debut this year

Frankie Edgar at open workouts

Fan favorite and UFC veteran Frankie Edgar is about to mix things up in the UFC’s 135-pound division.

Speaking to ESPN, Edgar’s manager Ali Abdelaziz announced he had already begun discussions about Edgar’s bantamweight debut with the UFC. The former lightweight champion is hoping to make the walk at UFC 244 in November – a fairly quick turnaround after his recent unanimous decision loss to Max Holloway, the champion of the 145-pound division Edgar has resided in since 2013.

Edgar moving down to 135 pounds has been a point of discussion for years within the MMA community. Standing at 5-foot-6, his comparatively small size has characterized his career, and has been a large contributor to both his popularity amongst fans and difficulties within his fights – where he usually gives up a significant size advantage.

While his smaller frame has left many thinking he would be better suited to a lower weight class, including his own coach Mark Henry, Edgar himself has been reluctant to move down. Just two weeks ago, following his loss to the 5-foot-11 Holloway, he remained non-committal to a bantamweight move.

Speaking to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto in his post-fight interview, Edgar stated, “I was always the little guy, growing up. It didn’t matter… I wanted to show my kid it didn’t matter. But you get the high-level guys, maybe it does matter sometimes. I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet.”

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While Edgar may once have been able to get away with fighting at his natural weight, the ever-growing trend of cutting weight to obtain a size advantage has presented him with (literally) larger problems to overcome – his reign as champion at lightweight eight years ago is a testament to this.

His move to bantamweight will be the second occasion that Edgar drops down a weight class in his career. “It feels like a new beginning for us,” coach Mark Henry said, speaking to ESPN. “He always does better when he fights guys his own size. He was barely cutting any weight at featherweight. I think during this last camp, he was 152 pounds a few weeks before the fight. And he hadn’t started cutting yet.”

Many believe Edgar is one of the best, if not the best, featherweight fighters to have never touched gold in the weight class, having come up short in all three of his featherweight title fights. The move to bantamweight offers a clean slate for him, and he’ll be spoiled for choice with a wealth of fresh and intriguing matchups.

The current champion of the division, Henry Cejudo, has expressed interest in facing Edgar, as has the #2 ranked contender Aljamain Sterling. Speaking on his podcast, The Weekly Scraps, Aljamain stated, “if [Edgar] did come down ’35 it’d be an immediate shakeup, and I could see a potential fight with myself and him happening.”

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