No Title? No Problem. Faber vs. Edgar Is Still A Super Fight

By Raphael Garcia

Mixed martial arts fans are in for a real treat this weekend when Urijah Faber and Frankie Edgar enter the Octagon at UFC Fight Night 66. Two of the most important fighters in the lighter divisions of the sport will share the cage for what can easily be considered a super fight. This is the exact type of fight that should have fans excited, even though this isn’t a PPV, nor is there a title on the line.

Edgar and Faber are two individuals that truly deserve all the accolades that are directed their way. Fans and former opponents alike praise these two men that have carried the flag for competitors who compete in the weight classes below welterweight.

The highest point of Faber’s career was when he reigned supreme over the featherweight division in World Extreme Cagefighting. He was clearly the face of that organization, which was built upon the exciting performances that he brought to the cage. Even after losing the title to Mike Thomas Brown at WEC 36 and losing the subsequent rematch at WEC 41, Zuffa wasted very little time before getting him back into the title picture, as he squared off against Jose Aldo at WEC 48. The results were catastrophic for Faber, as the image of him being carried back to his corner after being devastated by leg kicks is the main memory that fans take away from that fight.

Even still, Faber’s star hasn’t dimmed, even as he pushes 35 years of age. He continues to succeed at an elite level within the sport. In fact, he only seems to lose when placed into a title bout. But that’s doesn’t seem to stop him from being “in the mix” for title shots constantly.

Edgar has enjoyed a similar career path. The former collegiate wrestler-turned-fighter did his best work as one of the smaller men in the lightweight division. He captured the title at UFC 112 in a controversial fashion. His response? Dominate B.J. Penn to prove that he deserved the belt at UFC 118. Gray Maynard then got in his way, and it seemed like “The Bully” was going to do that to him for the second time at UFC 125. However, Edgar found a way to make a comeback in that fight and retain the title via draw, and then he kicked off what many consider to be Maynard’s career downfall when he knocked him out in their rematch at UFC 136. For some fans, it is hard for them to find a fight in which Edgar legitimately lost. The two defeats to Benson Henderson and his featherweight title shot against Jose Aldo have all been argued in Edgar’s favor by fan and expert alike. And this current iteration of Edgar is not only as exciting as ever, but he seems hell bent on dominating everyone that gets in his way as he moves towards another crack at the 145-pound belt.

On paper this is a very close fight. Fight Metric’s pre-fight report shows just how similar these two are to each other in a few aspects of their fighting style. For example, both men score with similar amounts of their striking attacks: 40 percent for Edgar and 42 percent for Faber. However, Edgar attempts more takedowns per 15 minutes (2.71 to 1.71) and completes a higher clip (38 percent to 34 percent). But these numbers do not do enough to tell the story as to why fans should be excited to see this fight. Both Faber and Edgar push a pace that is compelling to watch. Their styles are enough to captivate even the most bloodthirsty of fans. Yet what makes this fight so important is that it is a culmination of their work within the lighter weight classes.

The fact that both these fighters are getting the opportunity to entertain MMA fans by staging the UFC’s version of the “Thrilla in Manila” speaks volumes about their drawing power in a sport that has categorically shunned smaller men. This is an anticipated bout, not because of what it says about victor’s future, but because of what it says about the way these two individuals compete when the lights shine the brightest.

Frankie Edgar versus Urijah Faber is a contest that MMA fans should not want to miss. A title may not be on the line, but this fight has historical implications for both of their storied careers. This Saturday’s main event will go down as one of the best fights of 2015.

UFC Fight Night 66

Frankie Edgar vs. Urijah Faber

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UFC Fight Night 66: Edgar vs. Faber takes place on May 15, 2015 at SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, Philippines.

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