The next crack at UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway will go to Frankie Edgar, not Alex Volkanovski as many expected. The pair will meet at UFC 240 in July.
Edgar has won just a single fight in the last two-years, while Volkanovski is on an massive tear, so this decision was not an overwhelmingly popular one.
That being said, Edgar’s manager Ali Abdelaziz believes was the right one.
“Alex Volkanovski is an amazing fighter, great kid,” Abdelaziz said on The MMA Hour Monday, explaining why Frankie Edgar is getting the next featherweight title shot (transcript via MMA Fighting). “You can’t say anything bad about him. But listen, Frankie has been in this company for 10 years, he got passed over so many times, he got a lot of title shots. He put his title shot on the line versus (Brian) Ortega — and that was part of the deal. He said, ‘You know what, guys? I’m going to go ahead, I’m going to fight. I need to fight.’ And he saved the main event. Ortega was in the same position to fight Jeremy Stephens for the interim belt [at UFC 226] and he turned it down, right? And all I have to say is I spoke to the UFC brass, Dana (White) and Sean (Shelby) and Hunter (Campbell), all of these guys. I said, ‘Guys, listen. This is the deal. Frankie went out there and got a win. He’s been such a great guy and he deserves this title shot.’
“Dana White is a very emotional guy,” Abdelaziz continued, claiming Dana White has a soft spot for Frankie Edgar. He likes Frankie a lot, and that was a big factor of this. But he understands, he looked at Frankie’s career and what he has done. And I know this business is how good have you done for me lately — this is the type of business we’re in — but I really went [to that meeting], and everybody thought I was going to talk about Khabib, this or this. I said, ‘Listen, I’m not here to talk about nothing else. I only here to talk about Frankie.’ And I talked and I made my case, and they said, ‘For the first time, you are right. We’re in.’ It’s a bigger fight. I think, also timing, the UFC is talking about going to Australia, right? When you save this fight card for Australia [at UFC 243], you have Max or Frankie fighting Alex. It’s timing too. From a business standpoint, it’s better for the UFC to have Alex to fight later if they still can have the Australia card, right? Because if they have Adesanya vs. Whittaker, Frankie vs. Alex or Max vs. Alex, the winner, in a business way it works out.”
Do you think Frankie Edgar deserved a title shot before Alex Volkanovski?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 5/20/2019.