At UFC 240 current featherweight champion Max Holloway will look to defend his title against Frankie Edgar, not Alexander Volkanovski, as many expected.
The former UFC lightweight champion is just 1-1 in his last two fights and hasn’t fought since April 2018. But, according to Edgar, he knew he was next after talking to the UFC. After all, he did give up his title shot when Holloway got injured and accepted a short-notice fight against Brian Ortega, which he ended up losing.
“I felt I was [next for Holloway] just based on the conversations I’ve had with the UFC and whatnot, but you never know,” Edgar told MMA Fighting. “I’ve been told I was having shots before and haven’t got them. Of course, I really wasn’t holding my breath, I wanted to make sure I got bout agreement and then I knew it’s real.”
After two previous fights were scheduled between Holloway and Edgar, the 37-year-old is ready to finally fight the Hawaiian.
“We’re still over 10 weeks away from the fight, and I’m giddy today,” he says. “I woke up and went to train, I’ve got a smile on my face and I’m pumped that I got this opportunity. But it is still so far away, and I’ve been here before. So I got to make sure we get to the fight, get to the venue and make it happen.
“But ten weeks this upcoming Saturday, that’ll be the perfect time. I’ve been training. I was hurt for a while, the past month-and-a-half, I’ve been finally back in the gym able to do stuff. So it is perfect timing. I feel like I’m in shape to get in shape right now.”
Ultimately, Frankie Edgar sees the resemblance between this fight and his UFC 112 fight against B.J. Penn. There, no one expected the New Jersey native to win the belt. But he did, and he expects to do the same at UFC 240.
“Every time I get ready for [Holloway] I feel like I’m getting ready for a better version,” he says. “He continually gets better, and he’s represented our weight class tremendously. He’s considered the best featherweight of all time, so these are the positions I want to keep putting myself in. I want to keep challenging myself. If I want to take the belt, I want to take the belt from the best featherweight ever. This is my opportunity.
“Remember, nine years ago I was fighting for a belt that nobody thought I could win against the best lightweight of all time, so for me this is fitting.”
As for Volkanovski, Frankie Edgar believes this fight against Holloway just makes sense and the Australian’s time will come.
“I think it should matter,” he says of his resume. “You hear Dana [White] and UFC brass, they like people that step up, they like guys that are willing to put it all on the line, and I think my whole career I’ve done that. And I think that’s why I got rewarded.
“I think so, based on my past history with the UFC, and then the landscape of the way went down with me and Holloway, I think it just makes sense. I don’t want to take anything away from Alex, he’s a stud fighter. He’s won a bunch of fights in a row. He’s going to get his time. I was him not too long ago, and he’s going to get his time. I know he’s probably a little upset, because I’ve been there before. But his time will come.”
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This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/14/2019