I’m not too embarrassed to say I’ve become obsessed with taking the UFC lightweight title from Frankie Edgar. I beat Edgar when we fought in 2008 as contenders on the way up, and I beat him even worse on New Year’s Day for the belt, only for the judges to give it a draw.
On October 8th I fight Edgar for the third time in the main event of UFC 136 in Houston and I’m ready to take nine months of pent-up aggression out on him.
I am going into this fight angry. Not angry at Edgar — he did what he had to and is tough and a good fighter. Nothing personal with him, other than I need to beat him worse than ever to make sure everyone understands I am the best fighter at 155 pounds.
In January, I knocked him down three times in the opening round, a lot of referees would have stopped it there and then, but he’s a tough guy and he hung in there. I made a couple mistakes in trying to finish him off too much and not being careful not to burn out, but I feel I won three rounds to two, plus I won the first round BIG and it should have been scored 10-7.
But they gave it a draw and the guy who got beat up went home with the belt and has had it since.
At first my mindset was, “I’ve beat him twice and I still have to prove something against this guy?” But pretty quickly my mentality changed to where I’d be happy to fight him literally 20, 30 more times just until everyone on the planet gets the message I am a better fighter than Frankie Edgar.
I come from college wrestling, and I had that mentality drilled into me where you don’t talk smack, you don’t praise yourself, there’s no “I” in team, you just work hard, get the results and you will be recognized for what you actually accomplish in the sport. That works great in college wrestling, but five years into my MMA career, I know now it doesn’t work exactly like that in the UFC.
I still don’t like talking crap about other fighters and competitors and I’m not going to do my worst Muhammad Ali impression to get a spotlight on myself. But, yes, it is frustrating I don’t get the credit I feel I have earned.
Even now, having beat Edgar one time and doing the most damage and nearly knocking him out in the rematch, he’s the favourite to win this third fight. It is funny, I really don’t know how else to say it other than how I feel: I don’t think I am getting the credit I deserve.
Look at my record; I got my title shot by beating five or six of the top guys in the division — really top guys and better guys than Edgar beat before he got the title shot ahead of me.
Dennis Siver, Frankie Edgar, Jim Miller, Nate Diaz and Kenny Florian are not the guys anyone is going to build a highlight reel of knockouts and submissions by fighting. If you want to put together a great highlight reel, you probably wouldn’t choose to fight any of those guys. But I did and I beat them all before I got a title shot.
Look at what Siver, obviously Edgar, Miller, Diaz and Florian have done AFTER I beat them — I beat them all at their best.
I never complained when I had to fight top guy after top guy — that’s what competition is all about and what I’m all about. I don’t ask or want no gimmie fights. I didn’t complain about fighting five southpaws in a row, even though actually that did suck quite a lot.
And I am not complaining now. This is just what I’m thinking ahead of this fight and I’m just being real and honest. And, honestly, I am ready for a war at UFC 136.
Edgar knows that after two attempts, he’s come nowhere near close to beating me. He also knows I have the power to knock him out. Edgar will be better than ever for this fight, but so will I and my best beats his best every time.
Next Saturday, he will be in pain. He will be hurt come October 8th.