Every fighter wants to say that they walked away on a win. That they knew just when to hang up their gloves and that they ended their career exclusively on their own terms. Reality is rarely ever so kind.
Unfortunately for Frankie Edgar, that’s a lesson he learned full well this past Saturday night at UFC 281 on the PPV main card. Set up against surging bantamweight Chris Gutierrez, Edgar found himself on the wrong end of his third-straight knockout loss—just two minutes into the first round. After the bout, even Gutierrez seemed a bit broken up by what he’d just done to the former lightweight champion.
For his part, Edgar took some time to reflect on his latest defeat and what—at least for now—appears to be the end of his career as a mixed martial arts fighter.
“Obviously, (I’m) heartbroken,” Edgar said on a recent episode of ‘The Champ and the Tramp’ podcast (transcript via MMA Junkie). “That’s not the way I wanted it to go, but that’s the way it goes. I had a great week, awesome week out there. It was incredible, the love I got from everybody. The UFC gave me love, the little video that they did. From my peers, my peers are the most important. … I was zooming in the back. I felt like I was on in the back. I go out there and boom. Obviously, you saw it. Everybody saw it.”
“It f-cking sucks but how can I complain, to be honest?” Edgar added. “People were cheering my name the whole time before, during, after. I worked hard to get where I got, like f-cking hard, very hard. I sacrificed a lot in my life. I put my all into my athletic career since Day 1, but who am I to complain? There are people out there who work hard and they just make it by. I know both sides of that. I’m just trying to be grateful for what I accomplished, for the ride I had.”
Edgar won his first bid for UFC gold all the way back in 2010, with a decision victory over BJ Penn. Over the next decade the ‘Answer’ would compete for some form of a UFC title eight more times, including his pair of legendary fights against Gray Maynard. If this truly is the end of the line for the 41-year-old, he’s put together a remarkable career across three divisions inside the Octagon.