Sometimes things don’t go to script.
Frankie Edgar, the former UFC champion and dare we say one of the most-liked fighters on the roster, bowed out from his future Hall of Fame career with a first-round defeat against Chris Gutiérrez in Madison Square Garden, with his flying knee strike disappointing the legions of Edgar fans who had encamped to Madison Square Garden from across the Hudson River.
But none of them were quite as disappointed as Edgar himself; a fighter who went out on his shield in his final-ever bout, and speaking on his Champ and the Tramp podcast, via MMA Fighting, he explained that this wasn’t the ending to his career that he had anticipated but that he can’t have any complaints after what the sport has given him.
“Obviously heartbroken,” Edgar said of his thoughts after the fight. “No way that’s how I wanted to go. But that’s the way it goes.
“You saw [the knockout], everybody saw it. It f****** sucks but how can I complain to be honest. People were cheering my name the whole time, before, during, after. I know I work hard to get where I got.
“Like f****** hard, very hard. I sacrificed a lot my whole life. I put my all into my athletic career since day one but who the f*** am I to complain? There’s people out there that 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. Grateful for the ride I had.”
But the flying knee he received from Gutiérrez, Edgar says, isn’t necessarily evidence of his waning powers in the cage, but rather just something that happens to fighters sometimes.
“Either I’m slowing down a step or I just don’t see f****** nothing up the middle,” Edgar said. “Damn, the last three up the middle. I guess I don’t have to worry about that stuff no more.
“But again, I’m a very prideful person and all these people ‘my chin, his chin, his chin.’ I don’t know if my chin’s that bad. I know how I am in the gym. That first combo hit me with that spinning back fist. It was pretty f****** hard, I ate it pretty good. Knees and kicks are just a different animal. I didn’t see them coming either but I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of and I’ve really got nothing to hang my head about.
“What sucks, too, I didn’t even get to f****** go. Maybe it would have been better if I just went and put on another f****** heartfelt performance and lost a f****** decision or something like that. I was able to walk away with some bruises knowing that I f****** put it on the line again. I put it on the line but in a different way.
“I really didn’t get to show it and remember, I didn’t know what I was going to do after the last time this happened and I came back because I felt pretty good. My body felt pretty good to do it and I gave it that shot and it didn’t work out. I’ve got to be honest with myself. I don’t want to be but I’ve got to be. Let’s be real. It’s in the past, it’s behind me.”