Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
When Frankie Edgar saw a chance to face “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung on short notice, he jumped at the opportunity.
An injury had prevented Edgar from fighting Jung for a previously scheduled clash in 2018, and he hoped to right that wrong in the first-ever UFC event in Busan, South Korea. Instead, the former lightweight champion suffered a first-round TKO and returned to his home in New Jersey with a broken orbital bone.
As much as it stings to lose any fight, regardless of timing, Edgar refuses to get down because the result didn’t go his way.
“It was something I did,” Edgar told MMA Fighting in his first interview since the loss. “You can’t go back and dwell on sh*t you can’t change anyways. No regrets for me.
“Obviously, I wanted a different outcome, but I took the opportunity. It didn’t go my way. Sh*t happens, but those are the breaks. I was definitely depressed for a little bit, a little down on myself, but you move on. What else are you going to do?”
Since returning from South Korea, Edgar hasn’t watched the fight with Jung, but he’s more than happy to give credit where credit is due.
“He caught me with a good shot,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll look at it and I’ll be a little critical of something I did, but he’s on a tear,” Edgar said. “He’s been putting dudes away for a long time. He got me with a good shot. I did my best to stand there as long as I could, but it’s the way it went.”
Prior to booking the short-notice fight with Jung, Edgar was scheduled to face Cory Sandhagen in his bantamweight debut on Jan. 25 at UFC Raleigh; there was speculation he could potentially make a quick turnaround. While that’s no longer possible due to a medical suspension, Edgar doesn’t expect to be sidelined very long.
“I broke my orbital,” Edgar said. “Nothing super bad, no surgery. Just six weeks to heal and I’m good to go.”
Because of the injury, Edgar isn’t ready to declare a return date. But one thing he can say for certain is that his next fight will take place at 135 pounds.
“I’m going to go down to bantamweight,” Edgar confirmed. “That was the whole plan before this obviously. The cards have been stacked against me my whole career being the smaller guy. Going out there and fighting in Korea on short notice, that kind of stacked the cards even more.
“I think what I need to do is put myself in a favorable position to win my next fight, and that’s at 135.”
In 12 years with the UFC, the 38-year-old vet has never backed down from top competition, and that’s not going to change just because he’s moving to a new weight class.
But for now, Edgar is mostly concerned with getting back to full health, and then he’ll start thinking about potential opponents for his debut at 135 pounds.
“I’m not worried about anything right now,” Edgar said. “I’m not thinking of anything yet. I want to heal up. I’m already back in the gym doing what I can do right now, obviously not getting punched in the face or anything, but just trying to improve.
“I’m going to see what the UFC says, what they want from me. Coming off two losses, even though they’re up a weight class, I don’t know what they’re going to give me. But I’m always game.”
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