Frankie Edgar withstood the talk for so long. Besides, why should the lightweight champion drop down to featherweight?
But once he lost that title and the subsequent rematch with Ben Henderson, moving down to 145 pounds seemed like the right idea.
Except . . .
Jose Aldo rules the 145-pound division and is among the top five pound-for-pound fighters in the world. He has supreme striking skills with his hands and delivers leg kicks like no one else in MMA. Those leg kicks, rooted in Aldo's Muay Thai background, can be devastating and debilitating.
That didn't stop Edgar, who has unquestioned heart and determination, from taking it to Aldo for five rounds. But it wasn't enough as Aldo remains king of the featherweights by winning a unanimous decision at UFC 156 in Las Vegas on Saturday night. The judges scored it 49-46, 49-46, 48-47.
Aldo (22-1) landed clean left jabs, straight rights and big leg kicks in the first two rounds to presumably win those on the judges' cards. Then things got interesting. Edgar seemed to gain energy as Aldo waned. Edgar landed takedowns in both the third and fourth rounds, making him the first fighter with take down Aldo more than once in the same fight.
Edgar (14-4-1), loser of his last three fights, looked like the aggressor in the later rounds of a close fight.
"I keep finding myself in these situations," Edgar said.