Ricardo Almeida, the long-time coach of UFC 240 headliner Frankie Edgar, has explained why a move to 135lb may well be on the cards for his fighter.
Frankie found himself outclassed and outgunned by the dominant champion of the featherweight division Max Holloway in his most recent successful defense of his title.
Overall, it was a spirited performance from The Answer but after several failed attempts at securing 145lb gold, at 37, the question now surrounds what exactly Edgar can do to maximise his potential to enter that exclusive group of two-division champions within the promotion.
In the wake of his most recent setback, long-time coach Ricardo Almeida told MMA Fighting that the idea of a move to Edgar’s more natural weight-class has been in the works for some time now and if the path towards making a run at the title became clear, the team would be ready to make another push.
“We’ve been talking about this for a while, telling him to move down to 135 pounds, but he never really wanted it, he was never really interested. What Frankie wants is to be the best in the world. Frankie wants to win this second belt. And if he sees a path to get to that belt in that weight class, I’m sure he would really consider it. And I think he’d probably have that path.
“It doesn’t make sense for him to go down just for a fight, but if it’s for a title run and become champion again, I think everyone wants to see that. It would be incredible to see him fighting [Henry] Cejudo, (T.J.) Dillashaw, Dominick Cruz, all those beasts in that weight class — except for Marlon [Moraes].
Edgar’s training partners, Marlon Moraes and Zabit Magomedsharipov, stand as two of the best fighters in each of their respective divisions, bantamweight and featherweight.
Almeida went on to give his take on Frankie’s sparring sessions against both – citing the similar physical build of Moraes and how evening the playing field helps The Answer’s style.
“We have to high-level guys we can analyze. You can see the difference in Frankie’s ability when he can use his reach. Against Zabit, he has to keep moving forward the entire time to close the distance. Against Marlon, it’s back and forth with them throwing combinations.
“It’s an incredible ‘fight’, both are excellent fighters, but it’s more normal than fighting someone who’s so bigger than you. You’re getting hit in a distance you can’t hit them back, something that happened a few times in this fight with Holloway.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena