Frankie Edgar isn’t shy about speaking his mind. The former lightweight champion of the UFC has added training partners to his already-rigorous pre-fight preparations, and says there’s no doubt he’ll reverse his fate at UFC 144 and make Benson Henderson a one-and-done champion. He recently took a few minutes out of his schedule to catch up with Men’s Fitness and talk about his rematch at UFC 150 on August 11.
Men’s Fitness: Looking back at UFC 144 when you lost a judges’ decision to Benson Henderson, do you still feel like it was the wrong decision?
Frankie Edgar: You heard my interview afterward. I thought I won. I watched the fight again. I did. I am not really dwelling on it. I got the rematch and that is what I really wanted. I am looking forward to moving on from that. When you dwell on something, you can’t move on. I got the rematch I want so I am just looking forward to getting in there and getting a better outcome this time.
What was he doing in the cage that presented you with the most problems?
I think I fought a good fight. It’s not that he did anything I was surprised about. Whatever he did we prepared for and I was ready for. He is just a good fighter. He was able to get his kicks off and land a couple of submissions. That up kick at the end of the second round was pretty significant in the fight.
Is there anything that you have done differently to prepare for the rematch?
The only thing different is that I’ve brought in different training partners. I am going to make some adjustments. We have a fight to look at and see what things work for me and what things I can do better. For the most part, I think I fought a pretty good fight. I just have to be a little better this time. Every fight I am always trying to become a better fighter. As long as I am better than I was last fight, I did my job training in between fights. I am trying to become better in all aspects. If I’m better at standup, jiu-jitsu and wrestling, hopefully it will carryover and get me the win.
Who did you train with this time?
Dustin Poirier is helping me out with some training. I brought in a couple of Muay Thai guys to work with. It is tough to have a guy emulate who you are fighting. Especially guys like Ben because every fighter is different in so many different ways. They’re a bunch of high-level guys.
Coming from The Ultimate Fighter to headlining a milestone pay-per-view, UFC 150, has to feel pretty good.
I think it’s great. I am amazed every time I headline a card. I train in New York and I get to go past Times Square and see my face up on there on the promo for upcoming pay-per-view fights. It is still wild for me and it is tough for me to even fathom it. I’m just happy the UFC has put their faith behind me to headline cards like this.
What was your schedule like leading up to this fight?
There are 2-3 practices a day and each practice is 2-3 hours. If it is 3 practices a day, not all of them are super-intense. We spar and do jiu-jitsu 3-4 times a week and do strength and conditioning and wrestling. Then, obviously do private lessons with your jiu-jitsu, boxing or Muay Thai coach. On the sparing days, you try to put it all together. Being from Jersey, I travel and train. I live on the shore but I train in New York City and at Rutgers University New Brunswick. I am in the car a lot. It’s a commuter state and I guess I am no different. From beginning to end, it is easily an 8-hour day, if not, more. I usually take Sundays off to spend time with my family and recover. You beat yourself up a lot during the week and on Sunday your body is screaming for it sometimes. If you don’t let your body rest, it is tough to improve.
Does your diet change as you get closer to a fight?
I always eat a little bit cleaner the closer I get to my fight. I eat pretty clean as it is. I am not a big eater and I don’t have to cut much weight so I don’t have to cut food out much during my camps.
Is there bad blood between you and Benson Henderson? Do you get angry when you see him, knowing that this guy took your belt last time out?
I don’t have any animosity towards him. It is just that competitiveness in me. He has a win over me so I am going to do whatever it takes to make sure I walk away with the belt this time.
Do you guarantee victory?
Yes. I am going to guarantee victory because as a fighter you need 100 percent confidence. If I go in there half stepping I am going to walk away disappointed.