Frankie Edgar talks about what Manny Pacquiao could have done better, the Pinoy warmth and how he wouldn't fare well in our country's 'wild' traffic.
Frankie Edgar is a no-fuss type of guy. He lets his fighting do the talking.
Undefeated (3-0) against none other than THE BJ Penn? Check. Three successful title defenses? You got it. Ranked No. 2 in the official UFC featherweight rankings as of November last year? He's your man. The man who has explosive stand-up skills as well as solid punches, not to mention exceptional wrestling abilities, basically has been in the conversation of being among the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.
That's why when FHM had an exclusive chat with him about his upcoming fight with Urijah Faber at UFC's Philippine debut—"Fight Night Manila"—on May 16, we expected a no-frills, straight to the point question-and-answer session.
True enough, he lived up to his nickname "The Answer" and gave out crisp responses:
What's going through your mind right now, especially with your fight being just a couple of days away?
I feel good you know, it feels like a normal fight week. I'm ready to weigh in and get the show going.
Your thoughts on UFC expanding its scope by bringing its fights overseas, like here in the country?
I think it's great. It makes martial arts a global sport, not just an American or a Brazilian sport, it's worldwide! Fighting gets everyone on the stands, and it's in a lot of cultures. It just makes sense you know; it could be like the soccer of combat sports.
Do you have any idea how big your Filipino fanbase is?
I've seen it, the past couple of times I've been here. I'm feeling the love and they're very passionate about MMA and Frankie Edgar, so it's cool to see.
INSIDE THE OCTAGON
What does this particular fight mean to you?
Every fight is a big fight, especially in MMA—you're only as good as your last fight. There are so many fights every weekend, so its kind of hard to stay in the know and be the next guy, so you got to make sure you put on a good performance every time out, and that's what I'm gonna do again this weekend.
Describe your in-ring mentality.
I just want to be as intense and as focused as possible—it's kind of a controlled aggression, I guess, you could say. You want to be super aggressive, but all under control.
How does it feel having the distinction of defeating a renowned fighter like BJ Penn multiple times?
It just goes to show that, you know, I'm one of the greatest also. BJ had such an aura about him all these years, and I was able to defeat him, three times within a span of five years, so that's going to speak something of myself.
Would you consider him your greatest competitor in your whole UFC career?
He's one of them. At that point, when you're fighting champions—you know I fought many champions now—they all have their own traits that make them great, but you can't really say who's better than the other.
As for your toughest opponent...
It had to be anyone Benson Henderson and (Jose) Aldo, pick between those two guys.
Being one of the better boxers in the league, what are your thoughts on the recent Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather super fight?
It's kind of, you know, we all knew that's how Mayweather fights—it's kind of what you'll expect from (him). I was hoping Manny was going to go out there and throw more punches. If only he actually threw half the punches he normally does...
Now we find out it could have been that way, but wasn't because of that shoulder injury. I kind of wished that he was able to go in there a hundred percent. But as fighters, it's tough to always be a hundred percent when you're in there. I think we didn't get to see the fight that we all wanted to see.
Are you among those hoping for a rematch between the two?
I think everybody wants to see a healthy Manny against Mayweather, the fight that we thought we were going to get. So for me, I'll watch it.
OUTSIDE THE OCTAGON
Who is Frankie Edgar outside the ring?
I'm just a dad. I've got three kids, I'm a family man. I'm home with them most of the time, I hang out with my friends whenever I can, but I'm in the gym a lot, so when I have free time, I'm with my family.
How do you handle real-life brawls?
I haven't got into a fight in real-life since I got into the UFC. I'd get in big trouble if I do probably, in the States. I try to avoid them as much as possible, but if I got to protect myself, I got to protect myself, right?
One thing that easily pisses you off.
Bad drivers! New Jersey drivers man; they can't drive too good, and they show a little road rage sometimes!
I'm sure you have noticed the not-so-good traffic here...
Yes, I've seen it, it's pretty wild, so I probably wouldn't fare too well here (laughs)!
Finally, what would be your advice to all the aspiring MMA fighters?
If you want something bad enough, better work hard enough to get it. Sacrifice and you could achieve anything, it depends on how bad you want it.
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