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Why Frankie Edgar is one of the toughest men in the UFC

UFC Fight Night 57′s Edgar might just have the hardest head in the game.

8 October, 2011. UFC 136, the Toyota Centre, in Houston, Texas.

IN FRONT OF a packed house of rambunctious confederates, the UFC lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar – for the second time in consecutive fights, and third overall – stares across the octagon at Gray Maynard, at that time the only man to have ever beaten him.

When the pair first met, three years previously, at UFC FN 13, both were still considered promising up-and-comers.

Maynard would utilise his superior strength and wrestling to earn a unanimous decision victory and, in turn, hand Edgar his first professional loss.

In 2010, Edgar would go on to usurp BJ Penn as the 155lbs kingpin, before repeating the feat in a re-match. Maynard was then named as the next No 1 contender, and was considered a heavy favourite going into the second instalment on New Year’s Day, 2011.

Source: KimuraKale/YouTube

If the first round of that contest was anything to go by, the bookies had it spot on. Through a vicious barrage of powerful lead left hooks and uppercuts, the challenger dropped Edgar on at least three occasions, broke his nose and, temporarily, separated him from consciousness.

Somehow, through the excellent officiating of referee Herb Dean but most important, the mahogany consistency of the champion’s skull, there’s a second round. And a third, fourth and fifth, with Edgar clawing his way back from the brink, and compelling the judges to declare the bout a split-decision draw. The UFC immediately announces that the two will have to go again, but with both men sustaining injuries, part three is over seven months in the making.

Anticipation in Houston is fierce, with Edgar and Maynard poised to finally bring about a conclusion to this prolonged, but engaging saga. It’s a case of déjà vu, as Maynard begins just as he had previously. Edgar is once more subjected to a flurry of heavy shots, including a flying knee which results in blood spewing from his nose like a fountain. However, once again, he does not wilt.

Source: UFC - Ultimate Fighting Championship/YouTube

Not only does he endure the beating, but emerges for the second round almost as if it never happened. He slowly assumes control of the fight, before knocking Maynard out in the fourth, having caught him with a swift uppercut during a scramble, before cleaning his clock with a series of right hooks, thus, bringing an end to arguably the greatest trilogy in MMA history.

Source: UFC - Ultimate Fighting Championship/YouTube

Edgar would then lose his title and the subsequent re-match to Benson Henderson, before dropping to featherweight. After a failed tilt at Jose Aldo, he bounced back with wins over Charles Oliveira and BJ Penn. Unquestionably one of the toughest competitors in the sport, Edgar goes toe-to-toe with Cub Swanson in the main event of UFC FN 57 tomorrow in Dallas, Texas.

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About the author:

Tom Rooney

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