There is no such thing as a guaranteed title shot in the Ultimate Fighting Championship -- just ask Miesha Tate.
Still, Frankie Edgar seemed at least reasonably optimistic that he had done enough to be next in line in the featherweight division following a post-fight powwow with Dana White on Friday. After all, Edgar had just dispatched fellow contender Chad Mendes in stunning fashion in “The Ultimate Fighter 22” finale headliner, winning via knockout just 2:28 into the opening stanza.
“I just got out of the room with Dana, and I got good news,” Edgar said during an interview on Fox Sports 1. “He says I got it. I put myself in the position where I got that title shot.”
Moments later, White confirmed that he had indeed anointed “The Answer” as the featherweight division’s next No. 1 contender.
“When Frankie came downstairs I said, ‘Nobody can deny you now,’” White said. “Not me, not nobody.”
While it wasn’t a great surprise that Edgar won, the method in which he prevailed was not expected. It was supposed to be Mendes’ power, not the beautiful two-punch combination “The Answer” unleashed, that would bring a premature end to the highly-anticipated bout. If Edgar was going to win, it would be in typical fashion: by wearing his foe down with pace and volume over the course of 25 minutes.
“I don’t think anybody expected it,” White said. “I saw Chad Mendes chasing him down, trying to land the big bombs early, [then] Frankie trying to wear him out -- because Chad has a tendency to gas – and trying to take him out in the later rounds. But Frankie went in there, mixes it up with him and catches him with a punch.”
About the only person who wasn’t shocked was the author of the knockout.
“The whole buildup was, ‘Watch out for Chad’s power; Frankie’s gonna grind him.’ And I guess I’ve got a little pop too,” Edgar said. “I was just happy. I had some criticism early on that I’m not a finisher. I’ve got three finishes in my last five fights over some of the best guys in the world. I can’t be happier about it.”
Before Edgar and White could meet backstage, the ex-lightweight king called out the UFC boss, using his post-fight microphone time to demand some clarity in the 145-pound title picture.
“I definitely had to pull his card a little bit and throw a little shot at him, but he knows it’s all love,” Edgar said.
“There is no beef,” White said. “Everybody believes they’re ready for the title shot and they deserve it. Frankie’s one of those guys. I respect Frankie.”
Even with the love fest that ensued between fighter and promoter after Edgar’s resounding win, the Toms River, N.J., native knows that things can change quickly in the UFC. Edgar’s fate hinges on the championship showdown between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor at UFC 194. Multiple scenarios could arise depending on the outcome of that bout -- including a potential rematch between the two main event combatants.
“Nothing’s in stone. I know this business,” Edgar said. “[White] seemed pretty happy, and I walked out of there even happier, so I think we’re [headed] in the right direction.”