Frankie Edgar’s legendary MMA career is coming to an end.
After 35 pro fights, the former UFC Lightweight Champion has decided his next fight will be his last. Edgar’s last dance comes against Chris Gutierrez at UFC 281 inside the legendary Madison Square Garden.
Edgar Explains Why He’s Retiring
It wasn’t easy for ‘The Answer’ to accept he was headed for retirement. At 40 years old, Edgar still feels he’s in good shape but realizes he simply can’t go on to fight forever.
“It’s a lot of things I would think,” Edgar told MMA Fighting, regarding his decision to retire. “Kind of the way my fights have been going as of late led to that as well. My body, I am getting older. I feel great. In camp, I’m such a strong minded person that I always have great camps. I always feel good but the body takes its toll throughout the years and I just want to move on and see what’s next.
“I know I can’t fight forever. I could definitely string it on a couple more years probably but I know I’ll never move on to what’s the next chapter in my life. I think now I’m being selfish when I’m still trying to chase this and I’ve got a family and kids that want to have goals of their own. They want me around and probably want me to be able to speak good and have my wits about me. I just know it’s probably the best time.”
Edgar hasn’t had the best of luck in his last two fights. In back-to-back outings, Edgar would be brutally knocked out by bantamweight elites Cory Sandhagen and Chito Vera which left many to worry about the UFC veteran’s health.
While Edgar feels good now, he doesn’t ignore the effects from his past fights.
“It’s definitely in the back of your mind. You can’t help but hear talks of that in sports and especially in our sport but across all sports. It’s not like I notice anything like oh man, I’m forgetful or I’m slurring my words but I don’t know if that’s how it works. Does it happen one day, you wake up and you’re messed up or does it happen gradually? Who knows?
“I’m going to be 41 next week and I feel like I’m somewhat coherent, maybe not the most, but I guess good enough for now so maybe leave well enough alone.”
‘A Good Sendoff’
Coming off two knockout losses, Edgar refuses to let that happen to him again… especially in his retirement fight. The UFC legend wants to finish his career on a high note, rather than hang up the gloves on the receiving end of a KO (which we’ve seen a whole lot of in MMA).
“I don’t want to be that guy,” Edgar continued. “It’s not fair to put my family through that either. My pride doesn’t want to deal with that either. I feel like I can still hang with the best in the world.
“[But] I think in the past, I would have won those fights and now I’m not winning those fights. I don’t know if that’s the way time goes or guys are getting better or that’s the breaks of this game. Now’s the time. We get one more in New York, right in my backyard, a lot of history there. I think it’s a good sendoff.”
‘All Good Things Come To An End’
Committing to retire at UFC 281, no matter the outcome, was a hard pill to swallow for Edgar. In reality, Edgar didn’t like the idea of ever retiring. But, all stories have to end sometime and the former champ isn’t backing out of his promise to call it a career at MSG.
“I hate saying it but I’ve got to say it. I always thought I was going to be a guy that would never say I’m retiring but if I don’t say it, I’ll never get out of there. I think now’s the time. I need to worry about what I’m doing next. I need to kind of move past this part. I’m not one to kind of say stuff and then renege on it. I said it, I’m going to follow through. It sucks. I definitely don’t want it to be but all good things come to an end.”
“It would be selfish if I keep pursuing these dreams,” Edgar added. “And not that I’m not around that much. It’s a good career to have to raise a family. You’re around when you want to be but I just think it’s time to dive most of my attention to what’s next. I’m not going to say I’ll never say die but it would have to be a really good situation for me to come back.”