Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight Champion and No. 1 Featherweight title contender, Frankie Edgar, is no stranger to championship rounds (four and five) in mixed martial arts (MMA) contests.
"The Answer" has had the luxury of competing in seven consecutive title matches, dating back to his victory over B.J. Penn to claim the 155-pound belt at UFC 112 back in April 2010. Edgar would go onto defeat "The Prodigy" in a rematch, get the best of Gray Maynard at UFC 136 after their draw at UFC 125 seven months earlier, and then lose it all to Ben Henderson, twice, at UFC 144 and then UFC 150.
With the exception of the Maynard trilogy match, during which Edgar survived (another) first round assault to score a ridiculous come-from-behind knockout, each bout went to the judges scorecards and all of them were very close/competitive.
Thinking that perhaps his tight, albeit award-winning, performances were the result of his smallish stature, Edgar reluctantly cut 10 pounds to challenge 145-pound kingpin Jose Aldo at UFC 156 earlier this year. Unfortunately for the Toms River, N.J., native, the result was much of the same, with Edgar dropping another close decision to "Scarface" after 25 minutes of back-and-forth action.
Edgar, naturally, was upset with the decision, which marked an uncharacteristic third consecutive loss. However, much of that MMA misfortune could be attributed to his slow starts, a dangerous trend he will have to avoid at all costs when he collides with Charles Oliveira in the co-main event of UFC 162, which takes place this weekend (Sat., July 6, 2013) from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"This is a blessing in disguise I feel, going back to a three-round fight. It will make me get out of the [gate] early and make sure that in the first round I am in his face, the kind of rhythm I like to be in the fourth and fifth [rounds]. When I get back to the title fights, I want to be able to do that in the first round so it lasts all the way [until the end of the fight]."
The last time Edgar was involved in a sanctioned three-round fight (15 minutes) was against the over-matched Matt Veach, who he defeated via second round submission (rear-naked choke) at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 10 Finale back in Dec. 2009.
With his first-ever title shot looming (Penn) and his back against the wall, Edgar eventually came up big; however, if you remember correctly, his opening round was far from impressive ... or fast.