Former UFC lightweight champion Frankie (The Answer) Edgar is looking to do what featherweight title-holder Max (Blessed) Holloway failed to do last time out against Dustin (The Diamond) Poirier — become a champion in a second weight class.
To do it, Edgar will have to get through Holloway.
UFC 240 in Edmonton on July 27 marks the third attempt at a main event featuring the two fighters, who have 44 UFC bouts between them.
The first was in December 2017 at UFC 218 (Edgar suffered a cracked orbital bone in training) and the second in March 2018 at UFC 222 (Holloway leg injury).
Both men are now healthy and looking to add to their legacy at each other’s expense.
“Now we finally get to get it done,” said the 37-year-old Edgar, ranked fourth among 145-pound contenders.
“I’m looking forward to it,” added the 27-year-old Holloway. “This guy’s a former champion … He’s a future Hall of Famer. These are the fights that excite me.”
The two fighters, who were in Edmonton on Wednesday to publicize tickets going on sale Friday, have taken different routes to UFC 240.
Edgar, whose fight with Chan Sung Jung last November was derailed by a torn bicep, has not fought since April 21, 2018, when he won a unanimous decision over Cub Swanson.
“It does seem like a while,” Edgar said of the layoff. “Obviously I was dealing with an injury and everything, I was doing what I could do to stay in the gym and work around it as much as I can. The past few months, I’ve been good to go.”
In contrast, the Edmonton fight will be Holloway’s third main event in seven months.
Holloway (20-4-0) ended a one-year absence last December when he pounded No. 1 contender Brian Ortega en route to a fourth-round TKO at UFC 231 in Toronto. Then April 13, he moved up to 155 pounds and lost a five-round decision to Poirier for the interim lightweight title.
Holloway dominated Ortega, connecting on 290 significant strikes before the doctor stopped the bout with the challenger’s face bloody and swollen. While Holloway controlled the fight, he still absorbed 110 significant strikes, according to FightMetric.
The 400 combined significant strikes landed erased the UFC single-fight record of 334 set by Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone in a 2011 three-round bout.
There was more damage against Poirier in a gruelling five-round battle that was decided by Poirier’s edge in firepower. Holloway, a volume if not power puncher, connected on 181 significant strikes and absorbed 178.
That’s 288 significant strikes absorbed in his last two fights (nine rounds). Edgar has absorbed 299 significant strikes over his last nine fights (some 28 rounds).
The Poirier loss snapped a 13-fight Holloway win streak that dated back to August 2103 when the 145-pounder from Hawaii was beaten by Conor McGregor.
Edgar (23-6-1) is 8-3-0 since dropping down from lightweight in 2013, beaten only at 145 pounds by former champion Jose Aldo (twice) and Ortega.
“I’ve been chasing this title for quite a long time now. I’m ready to put it all on the line,” said Edgar.
“He’s just the best, the best in the division. Possibly one of the best featherweight ever,” he said of Holloway. “So that’s the guy I want to fight.”
But his date with Holloway was further delayed after he agreed to meet Ortega instead at UFC 222. He was knocked out in the first round, losing his title shot to the California fighter in the process.
Canada has been good to Holloway who recorded wins over Ortega and Anthony (Showtime) Pettis in Toronto and Charles Oliveira in Saskatoon. Edgar, a New Jersey native, has never fought in Canada.
Also on the Edmonton card, a pair of Canadian flyweights take on Brazilians. Alexis (Ally-Gator) Davis of Port Colborne, Ont., meets Viviane Araujo and Gillian (The Savage) Robertson of Niagara Falls, Ont., faces Sarah Frota.
The July card will be the UFC’s second in Edmonton. The city hosted UFC 215 in September 2017 with Amanda Nunes successfully defending her bantamweight title against Valentina Shevchenko after a flyweight championship bout between Demetrious (Mighty Mouse) Johnson and Ray Borg was called off due a Borg injury.
The Rogers Place card drew an announced sellout crowd of 16,232.