MMA Ratings Podcast

August 26, 2020

UFC Vegas 7: After Beating Pedro Munhoz In Bantamweight Debut, Frankie Edgar Needs To Be Fast-Tracked at 135

By Adam Martin

Last weekend, UFC legend Frankie Edgar became just the 11th fighter in modern history to win a fight in three different weight classes when he defeated Pedro Munhoz in the main event of UFC on ESPN 15. The former UFC Lightweight Champion and longtime featherweight contender earned a controversial split decision over Munhoz, but despite some disagreement over the result of the decision, officially Edgar earned a win over a Top-5 bantamweight, and that's a big deal.

Beating Munhoz opens up all sorts of possibilities for Edgar at 135 lbs. It opens up Edgar to a number of new, fresh matchups in his third UFC weight class, and at age 38 in presumably the final phase of his career, beating someone as highly-regarded as Munhoz could be the type of victory that earns Edgar a fast-track to the title shot. Considering he probably only has a couple of years left in the division before the weight cut becomes too tough, Edgar has to make a title run now, and a win over a top-five opponent puts him in a tremendous position to challenge for it soon.
Edgar won't be getting an immediate title shot, though there were some attempting to make that argument. UFC President Dana White this week confirmed that the next title shot against new bantamweight champion Petr Yan will go to Aljamain Sterling, who quite frankly deserves it more after five straight wins in the division. But Edgar is very much in the title picture. With Cody Garbrandt moving down to 125 lbs, Edgar has one less fighter in front of him to worry about. At this point, only Sterling and the winner of Marlon Moraes vs. Cory Sandhagen are ahead of him at 135. That's a great spot to be in for Edgar, and especially after only one fight in the weight class.

With everyone ahead of him already booked, Edgar has a few options right now. He could choose to wait, and see what happens in the Yan vs. Sterling fight, which will presumably take place later this year. After all, someone could get hurt and Edgar could slip right into the title fight instead. Or he could wait for Moraes and Sandhagen to fight, then take on the winner in a title eliminator. Or he could stay busy and fight another top-10 contender, such as Jimmie Rivera, Raphael Assuncao, or Dominick Cruz. But regardless of his choice, Edgar is in a really good spot right now at in the bantamweight division.
With Edgar aging, the UFC cannot afford to take a slow and steady approach with him. The matchmakers already threw him into the fire by matching him up against a top-five opponent in Munhoz, and he passed the test. Even though the fight was close, the fact that he was able to emerge victorious proved that he can hang with an elite bantamweight. The UFC knows that now, so matching Edgar up against any of the other fighters in the top five now makes for a viable fight. He is close to a title shot after just one fight at 135 lbs -- the benefit of entering the division at a good time.

I'm surprised at how good Frankie Edgar looked against Pedro Munhoz. Even though I thought he should have lost the decision, I was impressed by his speed, movement, and boxing combinations. He was able to go the full 25 minutes against one of the best in the world and show that he could hang. That bodes well for future challenges against the bantamweight elite. I'm not convinced Edgar will win the belt, but I do believe Edgar should get the chance to at least fight for it. And that in itself is a massive win, considering Edgar was just left for dead coming off a devastating TKO loss to Chan Sung Jung. It's amazing how one fight makes a difference, but after his win last weekend, Edgar is on the map at 135 lbs.

UFC on ESPN 15
Frankie Edgar vs. Pedro Munhoz: Frankie Edgar def. Pedro Munhoz via split decision (48-47, 46-49, 48-47).

UFC Fight Night on ESPN 15: Munhoz vs. Edgar took place August 22, 2020 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Click HERE for more UFC Fight Night on ESPN 15 Analysis

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