Frankie Edgar | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Was it “Rocky V” where Sylvester Stallone numbly intoned that life isn’t about hitting, but about how hard you can get hit and keep getting up?
Maybe I’m thinking of “Cobra.” Or “F.I.S.T.” Honestly, when you’ve heard one speech from a guy who can only drink from one side of his mouth, you’ve heard them all. But that one rings true, and it could have easily described Saturday’s performance by Frankie Edgar, who survived one of the worst blitzes in UFC title fight history only to come back and put on a clear and focused performance for the next 20 minutes. It was like watching someone stumble away from a car wreck, take a minute break, and then finish the Sunday Times crossword puzzle.
Edgar should be happy about his comeback, but the announcement of a draw -- justified, in the opinion of many -- turned him sour. He shouldn’t be: his stock skyrocketed with the attrition and wrestling that had improved to the point he was able to take Gray Maynard down repeatedly and stuff incoming shots. (Not possible in their 2008 fight, which Maynard won.) Maynard is probably Edgar’s biggest headache at 155 pounds, and he was able to keep it competitive.
A rematch is inevitable. And while that first round will be remembered, it’ll do far less for Maynard’s confidence than it will for Edgar’s.
Next for Edgar: Maynard.
Next for Maynard: Edgar.
Next for Brian Stann: Mark Munoz.
Next for Clay Guida: Kamal Shalorus.
New Questions: UFC 125
Does Edgar/Maynard deserve an immediate rematch?
The first word out of Saturday’s post-fight press conference was that WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis would receive his promised shot against the winner of the Edgar/Maynard bout earlier in the evening. But eventually, organizers admitted to press that Maynard couldn’t be ignored -- Pettis would have to be pushed aside.
It’s a bum deal for Pettis, but no promises were broken: he was guaranteed the winner, and no winner was declared. It would be difficult to move on and allow Maynard to start fighting for a contender’s slot he hasn’t lost.
Is time up for Phil Baroni, Brandon Vera, and Marcus Davis?
UFC 125 might have set a record for producing fighters on a steep decline: Brandon Vera, Phil Baroni, and Marcus Davis all suffered their third consecutive loss in the promotion, which has become increasingly cutthroat in the wake of the WEC merger.
Both Baroni and Davis may have used up their allotment of reinvention. Baroni initially cut to 170, then returned to 185; Davis had cut to 155 for the first time. All three create enthusiasm for their go-for-broke attitudes, but the UFC has situated itself as the premiere combat sports league and the pinnacle of MMA competition. Going 0-3 doesn’t fit that bill.
Did Greg Jackson embarrass his critics?
Jackson’s camp in Albuquerque has endured plenty of slings and arrows for their “conservative” approach to fighting, which has seen Georges St. Pierre and others put self-preservation above rabid attacks.
It might be the fighter, not the coach, who makes that determination: Stann was willing to slug it out with Chris Leben Saturday and managed to TKO Leben for only the second time in Leben’s 32-fight career. The win also elevated Stann well above criticisms that he was a WEC favorite solely for his press-ready military background. He came to Jackson’s as a fighter, and Jackson hasn’t turned him into anything else.
Is Nate Diaz in the weight class negative zone?
Nate Diaz fought at 170 for the third time in his career Saturday after a stint as an “Ultimate Fighter 5” lightweight champion. But the loss -- to Dong Hyun Kim -- was his first in the division: Kim was able to control Diaz on the ground throughout the fight.
That strategy isn’t going to change much for any of Diaz’s future opponents at welterweight: while he might be uncomfortable cutting to 155, he doesn’t possess the physicality to keep good wrestlers off of him. Kim dominated; Jon Fitch or Thiago Alves would smother.
• From the I-want-a-pony dept: Dong Hyun Kim used his post-fight interview Saturday as an opportunity to challenge St. Pierre. It’s a strange request given that he has yet to beat a single topÂ-10 welterweight. Not that Kim doesn’t have a chance -- his control is solid and his Judo might get GSP’s attention -- but it’s not an opportunity he’s earned.
• More wishful thinking: Stann challenging Wanderlei Silva during the post-fight news conference. This makes far more sense, but Stann is running opposite one-man circus Chael Sonnen. Maybe Stann needs to get on Twitter.
• Clay Guida scored an extra $60,000 for submitting Takanori Gomi in the pay-per-view opener. Where does that leave Gomi, once considered a top lightweight? He wasn’t smashed, and exciting fights are still out there for him against Donald Cerrone or Melvin Guillard.
• The cloud hovering over Randy Couture’s proposed fight with Lyoto Machida in April for Toronto is filming for “Expendables 2,” which was last scheduled to begin in March. Training full-bore for a fight while shooting a film hasn’t been done at this level; either Couture will wrap in a few week’s time, leaving him only a month of dedicated training, or the fight gets pushed back. Doing the movie is exciting, but the reality is that he’ll make far more money in the ring. “The Expendables 3” will be there when he’s 50; the Machida payday won’t be.