(And he *still* looks like the smaller fighter. / Photo via MMAJunkie)
We had a feeling that dropping to featherweight would be Frankie Edgar‘s quickest path to another title shot — we just didn’t think it would happen this fast. As first reported by USA Today, Edgar will step in to face Jose Aldo for the UFC featherweight title at UFC 153 (October 13th, Rio de Janeiro), after original challenger Erik Koch was forced to withdraw due to an undisclosed injury.
If Edgar is victorious, he will become just the third fighter in UFC history (after Randy Couture and BJ Penn) to win a belt in two separate weight classes. We feel awful for Koch — who has already been inactive for nearly a year due to injuries and postponements — but you have to admit that this is one of the rare times in which an injury to a main event fighter results in a more compelling matchup. Said UFC president Dana White of the booking:
“Obviously, we’ve had a rough couple of weeks here at the UFC, and then sure enough, I walk in to work today, and Erik Koch is hurt. But Frankie Edgar, being the stud and the warrior that he is, steps up and accepts this fight…I’m pumped. I think that people are going to be very excited for this fight…Frankie has had a tough go the last couple of times with the judges, but a lot of people think he belongs at 145 pounds. Well, here we go — Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar. People have been wanting to see this fight for a long time.”
Despite his former reputation as one of the lightweight division’s elite, Edgar has only won one of his last four fights, including his most recent pair of decision losses to Ben Henderson and his split draw against Gray Maynard in January 2011. Meanwhile, Aldo is a 14-fight win streak, including three wins in the UFC and eight wins in the WEC.
UFC 153 will also feature Quinton Jackson’s final UFC fight against Glover Teixeira, and Jon Fitch’s return against Erick Silva.