At UFC 98 on May 23, not many people were giving Frankie Edgar a chance against Sean Sherk.
"The Muscle Shark" was the former UFC lightweight champion with thirty-seven fights on his record and only three losses. Those three losses were to top dogs Matt Hughes, Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn.
Sherk was supposed to be the bigger, stronger wrestler. Most thought he would outmuscle the smaller Edgar. There was even chatter that Edgar should drop down to featherweight following a loss.
But the biggest loss that night was the loss for words that fans had while watching the fight. Frankie removed all doubt with his win and can now include himself alongside the other 155-pound fighters gunning for a title shot.
There is a bit of uncertainly over who will get the next crack at lightweight gold. With Diego Sanchez and Clay Guida at the TUF 9 finale followed by BJ Penn vs. Kenny Florian in August, the picture is still a bit unclear.
And what about Gray Maynard, who's already defeated Edgar?
We caught up with "The Answer," post UFC 98, to get his thoughts on the Sean Sherk fight, Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida, his often overlooked jiu-jitsu game and how he feels about a rematch with Gray Maynard.
Check it out.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): Congratulations on your big win. Now that the fight is over, can you tell us about the strategy your camp came up with for Sean Sherk? It was a strategy that worked well and you executed to perfection.
Frankie Edgar: I would not call it a strategy so much as the progression of my overall game. I have been working to improve my footwork and my boxing and it all came together in this fight. Obviously we are both great wrestlers so the improvement in those two areas was the key to my success.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): Was your corner telling you that you were winning after each round and what adjustments did you make to stay ahead of Sherk and win the fight?
Frankie Edgar: My corner did tell me I was winning every round. They were very confident in how the fight was going. They told me to press on and keep doing what I was doing. I wanted to keep Sherk guessing with the footwork and boxing and it paid off for me with the win.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): You earned your purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Ricardo Almeida last year. At the end of the fight, you were able to sink in a choke, but time ran out. Were you disappointed that you didn’t have time to sink it in and get the submission win?
Frankie Edgar: Yeah for sure. I am absolutely looking for submission wins now. That will be a big part of the evolution of my game. I am always working on every aspect of my game and BJJ is a huge part of that. I will have my black belt and I realize that it will take awhile. Even getting my brown belt will take some time but it is just one day at a time and living in the moment.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): What are your thoughts on Sherk as both an opponent and competitor?
Frankie Edgar: Sherk is so game. He has a hell of a chin; I felt like I caught him with some pretty good shots. He was very strong though; everything I expected. I knew he had quick hands and was a disciplined boxer. I was able to get the better of him in terms of timing but that is not taking anything away from Sherk.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): Dana seemed like he was impressed, proud and a bit shocked with your win over Sherk. In the post fight conference he said he didn’t make predictions but he wasn’t sure how you could get by him. Does it make you proud to have Dana White impressed by you?
Frankie Edgar: Absolutely. Dana White is my boss so whenever you can impress your boss, it makes you feel good. It means your doing something right. It is like any other job. You want your boss to respect you and think your doing a good job…so it was certainly a great feeling.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): How long will you take to rest and get some personal time in before you are back in the gym training for your next fight?
Frankie Edgar: Depending on how the fight goes, I usually don’t like to take too much time off. I was 100% fine after this fight. The sport has changed. Guys train full time now and I am no different. You have to be ready for when the UFC asks you to fight again.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): One of your friends and training partners was also on the UFC 98 card. Dan Miller fought a tough fight against Chael Sonnen. Do you have any thoughts on that fight?
Frankie Edgar: Dan and Jim Miller are great training partners. They work so hard. They are scrappy kids just like myself; all blue collar kids. Miller got laid on by Sonnen. Sonnen had the right gameplan and was able to avoid submissions. Dan couldn’t seem to get a rhythm going; I don’t know what it was. He is usually a lot slicker on his back. Dan is a gamer though; he is likely back in the gym. We will see him back in the Octagon sooner rather then later.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): This win puts you in the title talk conversation. Some think Diego Sanchez is in line for the title shot while others think he needs one more win. Would you be game to fight the winner of Sanchez vs. Guida to determine a number one contender for the belt?
Frankie Edgar: I will leave that up to the UFC. I would like to fight for title contention though. Whether it’s Diego fighting for the title or the two of us fighting for title contention, I am looking for the scenario that involves me (laughs). I am not sure what the UFC is going to do though, so we will see what happens.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): Any thoughts on the Sanchez-Guida fight?
Frankie Edgar: Right now, I have to give Diego the advantage. His stand up is better and he is slicker with the jiu-jitsu; he is a great grappler. Clay has the advantage in wrestling though. They both bring a hell of a pace to their fights. It is going to be an exciting fight for sure.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): The one loss on your record is to Gray Maynard. You have more impressive wins on your resume though. Do you think a rematch is in order between the two of you to determine who should advance on toward a title shot against Penn vs. Florian?
Frankie Edgar: Again, that is up to the UFC. That being said, I would be down for a rematch. It’s always great to get to chance to redo something that didn’t go your way; especially in a fight. I would absolutely sign up for the rematch, especially if the winner gets the next title shot.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): If you were to rematch Maynard, what adjustments would you make from your first fight with him? Did Maynard get the decision win because he outwrestled you? Would you use a gameplan similar to the one you used against Sherk?
Frankie Edgar: I would take some things I learned from the Sherk fight. I do think that Maynard is a little bit more dynamic though. I would look at his recent tapes to see how he has evolved since our first fight. Given that we are both great wrestlers, I go back to the footwork, boxing and my jiu-jitsu as ways in which I can stand apart.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): That is all I have got for you Frankie. I want to thank you for speaking with us and we look forward to seeing who you next opponent is.
Frankie Edgar: Thanks a lot Brian.