Frankie Edgar's 'work ethic' and 'love' for MMA have seen him defy Father Time and remain relevant deep into his 30s

FRANKIE EDGAR is the man who continues to defy Father Time – despite knocking on the door of 40.

At the ripe old age of 39, the former UFC lightweight champion and fan favourite is still as relevant as ever.


After finally making his long-overdue bantamweight debut last summer against Pedro Munhoz, Edgar – who this week celebrated the 14th anniversary of his octagon debut – is on the cusp of a historical title shot.

Should the pride of Tom's River, New Jersey win his UFC Vegas 18 showdown with Corey Sandhagen this evening, he'll be on the cusp of becoming the first fighter in the history of the promotion to compete for titles in three different weight classes.

There's one overriding question going into Edgar's first outing of 2021: how has he managed to defy the miles on his clock and continue to mix it with the bantamweight and featherweight division's elite?

The answer to that question, according to his head coach and good friend Mark Henry, is a simple one.

Henry told SunSport: "His love for it. If you love anything, you're going to be really good at it.

"I know a lot of fighters that say they love fighting but they only train when they have fights. Or they're not really into the sparring or whatnot.

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"Frankie loves the sport, he loves the camaraderie, the team. He really loves what he does.

"So I think that's definitely part of it. How dedicated he is, his work ethic and how disciplined he is."

Henry has been by Edgar's side for every step of the future hall-of-famer's storied UFC career, which has been filled with highs and lows.

And like many others, he believes the man they call The Answer hasn't been given enough credit for being a perennial contender deep into his thirties.

He said: "People don't understand how hard it is to be relevant and stay in the top five in one weight class.

"Frankie has been the top five in three weight classes, I think maybe even top three.

"When he beat Pedro, Pedro was really high up there. Frankie has been in the top five in three different weight classes for his whole career basically.


"And that's what I think is the biggest testament to Frankie is being able to stay relevant for that long and not really bump out of the top five.

"If he did, it was for one fight and he went back. And to be able to do that for the length of time, that he has is unheard of.

"People do fight at an older age, but it's usually at light-heavyweight or heavyweight. It's a lot easier to compete.

"But to compete at 35, 45 and 55, where athleticism is such a key and speed, you don't see many guys his age that stay in the top five and still be able to compete well.

"It's incredible what he's doing. I don't think he gets much recognition for that."

"But when you talk about true pound-for-pound, Frankie fought at 155lb and he didn't need one year to make each weight class.

"Each weight class, he didn't have to prepare a whole year. Lose weight, gain weight or this or that. Anybody who was offered his way, he automatically took it."

It's no secret that Edgar was undersized during his stints at featherweight and lightweight, a fact which made his claiming of the 155lb title even more impressive.

Edgar's decision to move down to 135lbs pleased Henry, who had long been concerned about the effects of him fighting significantly bigger opponents.

He said: "Frankie was fighting at 20lbs less sometimes which is almost four weight classes in boxing.

"I just knew it was very dangerous. He has a wife, kids and a family.

"It's not even the fight, it's the sparring and what leads up to the fight. It's just too much for someone's brain and body.

"So I was happy for him to finally fight guys his own size. It's just safer for him. So I was ecstatic."

Edgar will, however, be at a height and reach disadvantage for his meeting with the No.2-ranked Sandhagen – who goes into their clash as the bookies' favourite.

Henry said of Sandhagen: "He's an amazing fighter.

"He's young, he's hungry, which is the main ingredient right there. He did well against Marlon, who is an absolute beast.

"I think Marlon is one of the best in the whole world and I still think Marlon can win a title. He's doing incredible.

"He's beaten some great guys and he's earned what he's got. He wanted to fight Frankie, so here we are."

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