Frankie Edgar's new weight class for UFC 156
The discussion of potential superfights dominated much of the talk around the Ultimate Fighting Championship in late 2012.
Rumors floated about a bout between UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre or light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. But that talk shifted to the back burner this week with a superfight of sorts ready to explode Saturday in UFC 156 between UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo and former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
"We've been talking about superfights lately," UFC president Dana White said. "Ladies and gentlemen, this is the superfight right here."
Edgar, who resisted the shift from lightweight (155 pounds) to featherweight (145) for years, finally relented and will fight in his new class Saturday night in the main event at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Edgar won the lightweight championship in April 2010 and held it until February 2012, when he lost to Benson Henderson at UFC 144. After he lost his rematch with Henderson in August, Edgar announced the switch.
The weight drop brings Edgar to his preferred class, freeing him from the necessities of the larger weight class.
"When I was at 155, I forced myself to eat more," Edgar said. "I lifted a little heavy. I tried to put on size. Now I feel just more natural. I feel like my conditioning is better. I'm actually a little quicker. It's just a little less stressful instead of having to worry about trying to eat every two hours."
Aldo, who is making his sixth championship defense, defeated Mike Brown to win the World Extreme Cagefighting title in 2009 and was anointed the UFC champion when the companies merged in 2010.
"He's one of the most dynamic strikers we have," Edgar said of Aldo. "He's very athletic. He's compares to some of the guys I fought at 155."
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans will face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the co-main event. Former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem will fight Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva on the televised card, which can be seen on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST. Welterweights Jon Fitch and Demian Maia and flyweights Joseph Benavidez and Ian McCall also will fight.
The preliminaries will be split over FX and www.facebook.com/UFC. The FX portion, which can be seen live at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST, includes: lightweights Gleison Tibau vs. Evan Dunham; welterweights Tyron Woodley vs. Jay Hieron; lightweights Jacob Volkmann vs. Bobby Green; and lightweights Yves Edwards vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg. The Facebook fights, which can be seen at 6:35 p.m. EST/3:35 p.m. PST, will feature a pair of bantamweight fights -- Chico Camus vs. Dustin Kimura and Edwin Figueroa vs. Francisco Rivera.