Frankie Edgar has revealed that he will to step into the featherweight title unification bout at UFC 194 on December 12 in Las Vegas should either interim champion Conor McGregor or full champion Jose Aldo pull out through injury.
Aldo and McGregor were meant to face off at UFC 189 in July, but the champion withdrew after suffering a rib injury in training.
Chad Mendes stepped in on 15 days notice to face McGregor for the interim title, and went on to suffer a second-round knock-out loss.
“If someone gets hurt I’m the guy stepping in. And that’s from Dana White (UFC president). You can print that in bold letters!” Edgar told the UFC website.
Mendes was reportedly filming a hunting and fishing programme when he received the call, but accepted fight in spite of his truncated preparation period.
Since losing to McGregor, Mendes and several other Team Alpha male members have understandably blamed the loss on his inadequate training camp.
The Irishman has disagreed, saying that his body kicks wore Mendes down and caused him to gas. Edgar says neither opinion should be taken as fact.
“You can’t say 100 per cent that Chad wins that fight with a full camp. Chad is known to get tired but, you know, the hype of that fight has a factor too,” Edgar said.
“Yeah, it was just fifteen days notice, so that could zap his cardio, but based on what he did in that round before he got finished, he was pretty much steamrolling Conor. If he was more prepared could he have done that for five rounds? I don’t know. It’s hard to say.”
Edgar will have no such problem if he does step in as he is currently preparing for his own battle with Mendes at the TUF22 Finale, which takes place the day before Aldo and McGregor’s scheduled bout and in the same city.
The former UFC lightweight champion says he will prepare as if his opponent is having their best ever training camp.
“I put all of my opponents on a pedestal. Anything can happen and there are so many unknowns in this sport, so I’m always thinking they’re having a great camp, they’re learning new things and they’re going to come in tip-top shape, and that always keeps me motivated,” he said.
“I want that title. That, to me, is the most important thing. Conor may be the money fight, but when you win a title that stays with you forever. Money comes and goes. You’re a champ for the rest of your life. I did it at 155 and I want to do it at 145.”
Edgar also had some choice words for McGregor, who he may yet face in future regardless of what happens in either of their fights.
“He knows how to sell himself, but he’s his biggest fan. I have never been one to cross a line to sell fights, and I think he’s crossed a few lines, but I don’t sh*t talk Conor, even though he kind of invites it himself,” he said.
“I carry myself with a certain class – as do several other fighters who could be a lot richer if they did those things. We just don’t.”