I'm not particularly fond of watching Frankie Edgar fight. I don't have anything against the man personally, he seems like a good guy. But his stick-and-move boxing style, fancy footwork, and lack of finishing power combine to make for a less than palatable presentation I would rather stay away from.
Conversely, I love watching Ben Henderson fight, which almost feels like a contradiction of terms. In many ways, he's just like Edgar. But he's smooth, moving with a fluid durability unmatched by his contemporaries. He's never finished a fight in the UFC but he's not a point fighter and I dig that.
Still, I can't help but feel bad for poor Frankie today.
It's one day after his razor thin split decision loss to Henderson in the main event of UFC 150 on Sat., Aug. 11, 2012, at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. The judges scores have been swallowed and given time to digest.
And it's not sitting well.
Edgar won that fight last night. I know he did because I watched him do it and I don't need two of three judges to tell me I'm wrong. I know what I saw and so do you. So did Fight Metric, who also scored the fight for Edgar.
This all comes a little less than six months after "The Answer" lost his first showdown against Henderson, a decision I agreed with then and still do now. But everything that has happened since then, hell, everything that's happened since Edgar won the title from B.J. Penn at UFC 112, has shown how much it sucks to be Frankie, at least professionally.
None of this was ever supposed to happen. Edgar wasn't supposed to beat Penn in Abu Dhabi in April 2010. The decision was close enough (oh look, a pattern) that an immediate rematch was booked. This was done under the guise of it being "fair" but it felt more like the UFC attempting to put the title back on a proven draw like "The Prodigy."
Edgar proved them wrong and won even more impressively in the rematch.
Next, he was thrown in against the only man to ever defeat him up to that point, Gray Maynard. After two victories over Penn, a man widely regarding at that time as the greatest 155-pound fighter of all time, it seemed "The Bully" was the only man with a legitimate shot at dethroning the new champion.
He came close but once again, they went to the judges and the bout was declared a draw. Naturally, an immediate rematch was booked. Just like before, Edgar improved and looked far more impressive, knocking Maynard out in the fourth round and continuing to spit in the face of those who doubt him.
I'm not saying the UFC didn't want him to win, but I'm also not saying they wanted him as champion. UFC President Dana White has long made it clear he would like to see Edgar at 145-pounds, a fate he likely would have faced had he lost to Penn two years ago.
Instead, he defied the odds and continued to do this thing despite all the forces working around him.
Eventually, though, luck runs out. He dropped consecutive decisions to Henderson and while he's got fan support behind him, White now has all the ammunition he needs to send Edgar down to 145-pounds. But even in doing so, White revealed Edgar would have to win at least one fight in order to get a shot at division champion Jose Aldo.
That's probably fair considering his record -- he has just one win in four fights -- but not when you sift through the bullshit and realize Edgar has been under the gun for two years and handled himself as well as anyone could ever ask for.
In the UFC, you can fail drug tests, get suspended, arrested, lose definitively, whatever, and still be awarded a title shot or a rematch or a coke and a smile.
Just not if you're name is Frankie Edgar.