Frankie Edgar: What’s Next?

After last night’s unanimous decision loss to the champion Jose Aldo, the question is where does Frankie Edgar go from here? He was the lightweight champion and lost the belt. Now he has had a shot at the featherweight title, and lost in a close but convincing fight.

Luckily for Edgar, he put together one of the best challenges that Aldo has faced in his title reign. Other than the final round of his bout with Mark Hominick, there have been few times where Aldo looked beatable. During rounds four and five of his bout with Edgar, the American was landing clean, hard, and effective blows that were punishing the tired Brazilian.

Edgar could possibly move back up to lightweight, but there is a logjam of contenders in the 155-pound division. It would be in his best interest to stay at 145, where he might be a fight or two away for another crack at the belt.

A bout with former contender Chad Mendes would be a good way to build either of the former contenders up for a rematch with Aldo. Mendes has been given two bounce-back fights with Cody McKenzie and Yaotzin Meza, so he is due for a step-up in competition. A win against Edgar can legitimize his claim for another shot at the title.

On the other hand, a win against Mendes for Edgar would shoot him right back into the title picture; with Aldo’s current run of dominance, there aren’t as many clear-cut contenders who he hasn’t already beaten.

The final option for Edgar is to just keep dropping weight. He is a small guy and could probably diet and cut his way all the way down to bantamweight if he really wanted to. Is this the best option? Probably not. We already saw that his usual speed advantage was nonexistent against Aldo. Moving down would only exacerbate that problem.

But we’ve seen fighters view “dropping weight” as a panacea for their problems before, when really their issue is skill, not size. For Edgar – who gave both Aldo and Benson Henderson a run for their money – a lack of skill is clearly not the issue.