A perfect matchup awaits Frankie Edgar at 135-pounds

Frankie Edgar
Image via @ufc on Instagram

After Frankie Edgar fell short of grasping the featherweight title against Max Holloway at UFC 240, the possibility that he will move down to 135 is floating in the air.

This means “The Answer” would have a lot of fresh competition to get stuck into, and a perfect introduction to the bantamweight division could be none other than Dominick Cruz.

Two-time bantamweight champ, “The Dominator”, Cruz has been taking a significant break from the Octogan after being plagued with various injuries. His last injury resulted in shoulder surgery in 2018 which forced him to withdraw from a potential fight against John Lineker. As a result, his last fight was a five-round battle against Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207 in 2016. Garbrandt took home the title belt and delivered Cruz the first defeat of his UFC career.

Likewise, Frankie Edgar has demonstrated his credibility as the former lightweight champion. His UFC career spans over 12 years and he has beaten some of the strongest competition. He’s fought and beat MMA legends including BJ Penn, Chad Mendes and Urijah Faber, solidifying his reputation as a true warrior. His 5-round unanimous decision loss against Max Holloway at UFC 240 was a moment of reflection for the New Jersey native. A moment to reconsider his next career move.

The Cruz vs Edgar matchup would be a talking point for all MMA fans. Both fighters are coming off a loss, but have an extensive track record that would make the steaks higher than ever before. Unlike a lot of fresh meat in the bantamweight division, both Cruz and Edgar have already achieved championship status. They’ve been there, got the t-shirt and are maturing into the next phase of their fighting career.

“The Dominator” is known for his unusual, speedy and arguably elegant footwork. He mixes up movement so unpredictably it is hard to gauge a pattern. With the use of feints and a crouching and pivot motion, Cruz is able to dip across the octagon, avoiding the centre line and attack opponents from different angles whilst maintaining a strong defence. Cruz has a high fighting IQ that often overloads opponents including the seasoned wrestler, Urijah Faber. As a result, many fighters struggle to counter and rely on their traditional MMA arsenal.

On the other hand, “The Answer” has demonstrated time and time again his light and speedy footwork. He frequently switches stance and has a versatility that he can adapt effectively to different fighters. Not only does he have great cardio that could put Dominick Cruz through his paces, he has an incredible chin that can withstand a barrage of damage. Frankie Edgar continually weaves into the pocket of his opponents and rapidly closes the distance to force a reaction. This could significantly impact Cruz’s traditional strategy. Edgar also has a wrestling advantage. By combining his wrestling skill and frequent use of long-range leg kicks, Edgar could potentially chip away at the armour of Cruz where others have failed (such as Urijah Faber).

Both fighters have incredible reaction speeds and creativity with striking combinations. They also have a similar height and identical reach. Many fans noticed a size disparity between Holloway and Edgar going into UFC 240, and his coach corroborated that Edgar has had to compensate when fighting bigger opponents. By dropping down to 135-pounds, Edgar could invest his energy on powerful strikes and agility instead of expending energy on continually closing the distance.

With a pool of such versatile talent, Frankie Edgar will certainly have to earn his stripes in the bantamweight division, and what better way to start than against Dominick Cruz. Their combined experience, speed and fighting intelligence would make for a sensational fight. Not only that, it would be instrumental in defining the legacies of both fighters. Who do you think would take gold in a Dominick Cruz vs Frankie Edgar bout? Tell us your winner in the comments below!