Frankie Edgar always remembers his heartbreaking losses more than his career defining wins.
It's part of the reason he still has regrets about the way things went down at UFC 200 when he lost a unanimous decision to Jose Aldo with the interim featherweight title on the line.
Of course the stakes of the fight make it sting that much more, but the loss is ultimately what hurts the most, especially considering Edgar knows exactly what he did wrong that night.
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“I just didn't make the proper adjustments. Everything we worked on in camp, I thought I did well. I came forward, I brought pressure, I avoided the jab, I avoided the leg kicks, but he was just kind of playing smarter than me. That's how I'll say it. I was there kind of looking to throw, looking to fight and he was looking to move and avoid me,” Edgar told FOX Sports.
“I feel like I should have recognized that and I didn't. I was kind of stuck on what we worked on in camp, which isn't a bad thing, but sometimes you have to make those adjustments in the middle of the fight and I feel that's something I do really well. So I'm disappointed that I was a little stubborn in this fight and didn't change my attack.”
Edgar is hesitant to say that Aldo was “point fighting” by going out there and looking to win rounds versus engaging in a real battle where each of them was looking for the finish.
Of course, Edgar knows that he looked worse for wear when the fight was over, but he was never in any danger of being finished. Still, the former lightweight champion can't help but regret that he didn't adjust course when he realized Aldo was looking to win rounds rather than win by knockout.
“I think he was playing a game and it's smart on him,” Edgar said. “I don't really talk down on point fighters. We go in there to get our hand raised and he got his hand raised so I can't be mad at him for that. I should have recognized that though.”
As soon as the scorecards were read, Edgar was asking the UFC for another fight, partially because he wanted to compete on the first ever card at Madison Square Garden but also because he wanted nothing more than to scrub the memory of that Aldo loss from his mind.
Of course, Edgar never truly forgets his defeats, but the best way to move forward is to get back into the win column and that's what he hopes to do at UFC 205.
“This is what I've been thinking about ever since July 9, the night of my fight when I lost,” Edgar said. “I just want to go in there and erase everything. The best way to erase a loss is to go back in there and have a good fight and getting your hand raised. That's my goal.
“I don't think I'll ever erase the loss completely. I remember the losses more than the wins, but a win on November 12 will definitely make it sting a lot less.”
As important as it was for Edgar to fight on the historic card on November 12 in New York, more than anything he wanted to jump right back into the deep end of the featherweight division.
When the UFC came calling with an offer to fight Jeremy Stephens, who was fresh off a win over former bantamweight champion Renan Barao, it was exactly what Edgar wanted. Stephens has made a name for himself at featherweight with several stunning knockouts, although Edgar still recognizes him as virtually the same fighter he always was at 155 pounds as well.
“I think he's the same kind of guy,” Edgar said. “I feel he's a little more well rounded now. Back in the day, guys would be able to avoid standing up with him and find ways to win. Now he's able to keep it standing up much more and he's fighting at a higher caliber than he was at 155. He's going to look to put me away and I'm not going to have to chase him at all.”
Considering his feelings on the Aldo fight, Edgar wants nothing more than an opponent who is ready to engage with him and that's exactly what Stephens will do on Saturday night.
When they first came face to face at the UFC 205 pre-fight press conference, Stephens said that he planned on ruining Edgar's big moment competing in New York by brutally knocking him out in front of the Madison Square Garden crowd.
Edgar welcomes Stephens to try, but his prediction on the outcome is much different.
“Everybody says they're going to knock me out and no one's done it yet,” Edgar said. “All the power to him, I hope he comes and tries to and I’m going to have something ready for him.”
A win at UFC 205 will certainly put Edgar back into title talk conversation, although he's not going to address that possibility until after he gets past Stephens. Deep down inside, there's no denying Edgar would still like to get another shot at Aldo or to finally get his shot against featherweight king Conor McGregor although he's not holding his breath on that one.
“Of course, I think Eddie (Alvarez) is going to get the win (over Conor McGregor) and it might force him to come back down. I don't think he's going to come down. I think the weight's too much for him to cut,” Edgar said.
“I'm not too concerned with what's next. I know if I beat Jeremy, it's going to put me in a good position to go and fight for that title again in the future. Winning takes care of everything.”