Shortly after UFC lightweight champ Frankie Edgar completed his comeback against Gray Maynard this past Saturday night, UFC President Dana White referred to the performance as something only seen in movies. However, White was wrong, and not because his heart wasn’t in the right place. Rather, because Hollywood hasn’t ever ended a trilogy on as brilliant a note.
For the unlucky few who may not have tuned in, “The Answer” was hurt early by Maynard’s power much in the same way he was at UFC 125 but managed to hold on until the second round where he started mounting enough offense even things up on the scorecards entering the fourth frame. Then, with about a minute to go – the 59th total minute the duo had spent together in the Octagon over three bouts – Edgar dazed Maynard with an uppercut, sprung in, and finished him off with a number of well-placed strikes.
Edgar reflected on his jaw-dropping performance at the post-event press conference for UFC 136 where he credited Maynard with keeping him supremely motivated and expressed a sense of relief at being able to put their rivalry behind him for the time being.
“When you have an adversary like that it makes you bring the best out of yourself, so Gray definitely made me bring the best out of myself,” the 29-year old explained. “Obviously the first fight he won over me and the next one was a draw. I knew I’d closed the distance a little bit and I knew had to make the gap even bigger this time around so he forced me to be the best Frankie Edgar.”
“Sometimes you get hit like that and you’re in survival mode,” Edgar continued. “I don’t think you really have a plan. I got the fight in me, you know? That’s what it is. You’re gonna hit me, rock me, and I’m gonna keep coming no matter what. I think the biggest thing for me was I listened to my corner. I really do think they helped me make the adjustments I needed to make so I could come back and win this fight.”
As far as the method of victory feeling particularly special after going having gone the distance in their previous two pairings, the 14-1-1 Edgar admitted the ending meant more to him than a decision might have.
“I think it just put some closure on it. Obviously the last fight ended in a draw so we didn’t have a definitive winner. This one, I ended it with a bang and it’s good to go home and be done with it.”
Up next for Edgar could be the winner of Clay Guida vs. Ben Henderson (who meet on November 12 at the UFC on FOX event) or possibly Strikeforce’s lightweight title-holder Gilbert Melendez depending on how his current contract is handled. Regardless, Edgar will no doubt be ready to meet the next challenge head on to write another fantastic next chapter in the story of his already awe-inspiring career.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC