December 19, 2019

UFC Busan: Frankie Edgar Fighting The Korean Zombie At Featherweight Makes No Sense

By Adam Martin

When Brian Ortega revealed he was injured and had to pull out of his upcoming matchup at UFC Busan against "The Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung, there was no shortage of featherweights who made sense as replacements for him in that bout. Zabit Magomedovsharipov, Calvin Kattar, Shane Burgos -- all of these fighters could have stepped in for Ortega. But instead, the UFC chose Frankie Edgar to fill in on short notice, and now he takes on Jung in a main event that makes no sense at all.

The number one reason this fight made no sense when it was announced is that Edgar already had a fight booked against Cory Sandhagen -- in the bantamweight division. After losing a lopsided decision to Max Holloway at UFC 240 this past summer, Edgar announced he was moving down to 135 lbs after spending the last decade-plus at 155 lbs and 145 lbs in the UFC. Though Edgar had plenty of success in those weight classes, as the sport evolved he just got too small to compete with the elite fighters in those divisions. The move to bantamweight seemed to be a great one.

When the UFC announced Edgar would be fighting Sandhagen -- one of the top bantamweights in the world -- it was providing Edgar the opportunity to fight a top-five opponent and potentially jump right into title contention for UFC Bantamweight Champion Henry Cejudo's belt. Sandhagen on paper is a very tough matchup for Edgar, but if Edgar wants a shot at Cejudo he should have to beat a guy like Sandhagen to get it. And for Sandhagen, fighting Edgar was his chance to fight and beat a legend, and add that name to his resume. Edgar vs. Sandhagen was smart matchmaking by the UFC.

But instead, the UFC called on Edgar to fill in for Ortega and fight Jung at featherweight. The weird thing is, the fight with Sandhagen isn't even officially canceled yet. There's still a chance that could happen. If that's the case, then Jung vs. Edgar is a pointless fight. Instead of matching Jung against another top contender at 145 lbs and giving that fighter the chance to headline a card, now Edgar gets a marquee fight against Jung even though he doesn't plan on staying in the division. It's just very strange.

On paper, Jung vs. Edgar is an interesting fight and it could be fun. But so would Jung vs. Magomedosharipov, Kattar, or Burgos. And Edgar vs. Sandhagen sounded like a lot of fun too, and now it might not happen. So instead of having two fun fights, now we just have one, and one half of the fight doesn't even plan on sticking around the weight class much longer. I'm not sure why the UFC felt this was the right fight to book; I'm just not seeing the logic behind it.

Although I respect the fact Edgar is a company man and stepped up when the UFC needed him to, I just feel like there were better options for Jung, and fights that made a lot more sense. Instead of giving another featherweight the opportunity for a main event and Sandhagen the opportunity to fight Edgar, now we have a fight that has no real bearing on the featherweight division. If Jung wins, he was supposed to. If Edgar wins, then you eliminate Jung as a featherweight contender. Ultimately, I don't believe Edgar vs. Jung is a fight that needed to be booked.

UFCon ESPN+ 23
"The Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung vs. Frankie Edgar

UFC on ESPN+ 23: Edgar vs. The Korean Zombie (formerly UFC on ESPN+ 23: Ortega vs. The Korean Zombie) takes place December 21, 2019 at Sajik Arena in Busan, South Korea.

Click HERE for more UFC on ESPN+ 23 Pre-Fight Analysis


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