The UFC had to make a major adjustment to its March 5th pay-per-view main event in Las Vegas. Plans for Rafael dos Anjos to defend his lightweight title against featherweight champ Conor McGregor had to be shelved due to dos Anjos’ broken foot, which resulted in a who’s who of fighters offering to take on “The Notorious” one on short notice. Ultimately, the UFC went with Nate Diaz to face McGregor in a welterweight bout.
On ESPN’s SportsCenter, Dana White said that Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar were both offered to fight McGregor (presumably at 155), but they both turned it down. These remarks didn’t sit well with Edgar, who wouldn’t have been able to fight due to an injury he’d been nursing. Edgar told MMA Fighting that he doubts he would’ve even gotten the call had he was healthy and said “yes”:
“I’m even more pissed that Dana’s insinuating that I ‘refused’ to take this fight, which is bullsh*t,” he said. “Just because they asked me doesn’t mean they were going to give it to me because guess what, in July they asked me to take the [UFC 189] fight on 15 day’s notice, which of course I accepted, and I still didn’t get it.
“I have a feeling that if I had said ‘yes,’ if Ali had texted back ‘yes,’ that fight still would have went to Nate Diaz. I think Nate Diaz was the fight they were trying to make since the beginning. From what I hear they contacted Nate even before they contacted me. But now Dana wants to go around saying that I ‘refused ‘to take this fight, and I don’t know if he’s going to try to use it against me in the future when another opportunity comes up where I can fight for the belt, and he’s going to say, ‘well, you had your opportunity and you said no.'”
Of course, Edgar, who is the presumptive #1 contender to fight for the featherweight belt after he knocked out Chad Mendes in December, isn’t keen on McGregor “holding up” his division by fighting for the lightweight title and now accepting a welterweight bout. He sees it as yet another example of the UFC’s Conor-centric business model.
“And this is what my team was pissed at,” Edgar said. “This dude, they were going to let this guy hold the 145-pound title, go up to 55, now two weight classes are being held up. And now they’re saying he’s going to go up to 70. This is a circus. The ‘C’ in UFC stands for Conor. This guy runs the show.”
Edgar also is somewhat suspicious of the UFC’s decision to pick Diaz over Donald Cerrone, who just fought on last Sunday night’s main event in Pittsburgh, and didn’t receive a medical suspension by the athletic commission.
“Why didn’t they go with Cowboy? Cowboy was fresh off a camp. He’s in shape, no injuries. They decide to go with a guy like Nate who can’t even make 155, so how much training has he been doing? I don’t understand why they picked the guy who’s probably not ready for the fight. Why not pick a guy like Cowboy who seems to be ready for it? It sounds fishy to me.”
As for Edgar’s health, he expects to recover from his torn groin injury in time to compete as early as May. Whether or not he’ll ever end up facing McGregor for the featherweight title remains to be seen, and he doesn’t think it’ll ever actually happen.
“I don’t think at 145,” he said. “I think maybe if I go to up to 155 or something. And that’s another thing. They’ve been telling me for years, we don’t want you to fight at 55, we don’t want you to fight at 155…but oh, you want to fight Conor McGregor on 10 days notice at 155? Sure, well go ahead, jump in. It’s ridiculous. If they believe in Conor so much, let me fight him at 145 and give me a full f*cking camp. And I know I’d take that belt home with me.
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