By Frankie Edgar

*** Former UFC lightweight champion Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar tells Fighters Only all about the five greatest nights in his mixed martial arts career to date ***


1. I could be the man

vs. Sean Sherk, UFC 98

“The Sean Sherk fight was the first fight where I realised I was an upper-echelon fighter. I was fighting the former champion and I was able to execute the perfect game plan. That fight put me in the top 10, maybe top five in the lightweight division. I just realised that if I beat a former champion there was no reason I couldn’t be champion myself. It was always my goal to hold that title. To be able to take out Sherk like that, I knew it could be realistic and it was close to happening. That was definitely a fight that opened doors and opened eyes of realising that I could be the man.”


2. Against the odds

vs. BJ Penn I, UFC 112

Winning the title for the first time was a special, special moment. I believe I was brought into that fight to be an opponent for BJ Penn. He was running through everyone. He wasn’t just beating people, he was literally demolishing everyone they put in front of him. The media was writing me off. Even the UFC – I think they weren’t expecting me to come out there and do anything. The people that believed in me were my team, my family and myself. To be able to get it done was definitely the start of me becoming who I am today.”


3. Rocky is here

vs. Gray Maynard II, UFC 125

“With these fights, I’ve heard the Rocky comparisons a lot. That’s fine with me. He was my movie hero. But I’ll be honest, especially in the second fight, I really don’t remember much. I got rocked and it took me probably until the fifth round to come to. One thing I do remember was my ankle hurt really badly. I had no idea at the time, but I’d rolled my ankle, bad. I was in survival mode for sure, but surviving the way I did and earning the draw really made me believe in myself like never before.”


4. Rubber match revenge

vs. Gray Maynard III, UFC 136

“In the first round I was thinking, ‘Not again.’ He came at me. I was out of it for a minute. Sometimes you get hit like that and you are just in survival mode. You don’t have a plan. I get hit and I get rocked but I’ll keep coming forward. I knew from the previous fight that I could come back from it. Gray was landing that uppercut but I listened to my coaches. They said I needed to get my head off. I was keeping my head in the middle. I made the adjustment. That seemed to work.”


5. Learn from a loss

vs. Jose Aldo II (UFC 200)

“I just feel like I didn’t make the adjustments I needed to make. I went in there to fight. Aldo was the one who had the better game plan. I didn’t really recognise what he was trying to do. That one is on me. I should have made some adjustments in there, which I usually do pretty well. Everything we worked on in camp, I thought I did well. I came forward, I brought pressure, I avoided the jab, I avoided the leg kicks. But he was just playing it smarter than me. I was there kind of looking to throw, looking to fight and he was looking to move and avoid me. You live and you learn.”


*** This feature originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Fighters Only ***