There are a lot of things in the MMA world that I’m looking forward to as the calendar turns to 2013. So much so, that I’ve decided to chronicle some of them here and here. There are a lot of great fights already booked for the first quarter of the new year that I am extremely pumped up about. One stands out, however, and that is why it’s featured in today’s installment of Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2012: Jose Aldo against Frankie Edgar for the UFC Featherweight Title at UFC 156 in February.
Originally scheduled to take place this past fall, the title fight was postponed after Aldo was injured in a motorcycle accident in Brazil. Aldo has won fourteen straight fights, and is an undefeated 11-0 under the Zuffa umbrella in the WEC and UFC. More impressively, Aldo has faced, and generally destroyed, the best that the featherweight division has to offer, and his run as champion is filled with impressive victories over top competition like Kenny Florian, Urijah Faber, and Chad Mendes. However, when he meets Edgar on Super Bowl Saturday, he will have not fought in over a year, with his last octagon appearance coming at UFC 142 in January.
Egdar, on the other hand, will be coming off two straight losses in the octagon, and will be making his first ever appearance at featherweight. Notwithstanding this, as a sign of the general awesomeness of Frankie Edgar, no one can justifiably complain about Edgar getting the shot. First, Edgar’s two losses, both to current UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson, came via a close and controversial decision. At the same time, even while he was the lightweight champion, it was clear that Edgar was too small for the division, and would likely be much better suited at featherweight. Thus, you can’t really dispute the suggestion that Frankie has nothing to prove in order to deserve a title shot against Aldo. This is magnified when you see what is going on with title shots in other weight classes, and consider the general lack of viable alternatives in the featherweight division (sorry Erik Koch!).
This fight is so interesting because it gives both the chance to validate their places near the top of the pound for pound rankings. If Aldo is victorious, it will provide further confirmation that he is an unbeatable force that may hold the featherweight strap until he decides to relinquish it. If Edgar is able to come out on top, it will officially silence any irrational doubters he still has, as he will join Randy Couture and B.J. Penn as dual weight class UFC title winners.
And, the best part? The fight should be an absolute barn burner, as both guys have proven time and time again that they are not interesting in fighting conservatively. I expect a relentless attack from Edgar looking to clinch and score takedowns, while Aldo looks to land the giant knockout blow. So, for those of you who live on or near farms, I firmly suggest fire-proofing your barns before Super Bowl Saturday.
Can’t wait for this fight!