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Former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar was about a month away from making his bantamweight debut, but instead he’ll be taking on a top-ranked featherweight.
Edgar (23-7-1 MMA, 17-7-1 UFC) is stepping in on short notice for an injured Brian Ortega to take on Chan Sung Jung (15-5 MMA, 5-2 UFC) in the UFC on ESPN+ 23 headliner Dec. 21 in Busan, South Korea.
Edgar initially was scheduled to take on Cory Sandhagen at 135 pounds on Jan. 25, but Edgar says he took “The Korean Zombie” fight because he wanted to stay active.
In his last outing, Edgar fell short in capturing the UFC featherweight title, suffering a unanimous decision loss to Max Holloway in July. It was his first fight of 2019 and his first fight in 15 months.
“You know I’ve been trying to get a fight since November,” Edgar said Tuesday on “The Luke Thomas Show”. “I thought I was going to be on the (UFC 244) card. I kind of was in camp for a little bit for that, then it fell through, then I was going to be on the Dec. 14 card that’s coming up now. That kinda fell through, so when this opportunity came up, I wanted to get a fight. I only fought once this last, I think, 18 (months). I only fought once, and I didn’t want that to happen again for this year, so I jumped at the opportunity.”
With the Sandhagen fight still tentatively scheduled for only a month after UFC Busan, it seems unlikely that Edgar will come out completely unscathed and ready to compete Jan. 25.
The plan, however, is still to make the drop down to 135 pounds.
“I’m going to get there eventually,” Edgar said. “Just a little hiccup on the way.
“I’m really not that heavy. It’s just … actually when I found out that I was fighting (Jung), I had to gain a little bit of weight for this one, so I think I need to be at (135) in the future.”
“The Korean Zombie” is one of the top-ranked 145 pounders, so a win over Jung should put Edgar right back in the title picture. And while Edgar thinks it’s unlikely that a win would earn him a title shot, he wouldn’t be opposed to it.
“Right away? No, I don’t think so, but winning only does good things,” Edgar said. “But no, I don’t think I’ll get a title shot right away at (145) if I do win, just based off one win, especially if (Max Holloway wins at UFC 245).
“I’m not really expecting to fight for a title at (145). Would I turn it down? absolutely not.”
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