There isn’t much left for Frankie Edgar to prove after his stunning first-round knockout of Chad Mendes on Friday at The Ultimate Fighter Finale in Las Vegas.
Edgar and Mendes both entered the Octagon with the same goal in mind: to become the unanimous No. 1 contender in the UFC’s featherweight division and the next opponent of tomorrow’s massive title fight between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor at UFC 194.
“Everyone was talking about Chad’s power, but I have a little juice too,” Edgar said.
Edgar left the Octagon – in what some think is his final title run – with his third finish during his current five-fight win streak while yelling, “Where is my title shot?”
And according to Dana White, he got it.
“Me and everyone in here thought it would be Frankie would try to wear him out and gas him,” White said. “(Edgar) knocked out a guy who has a great chin. No one can deny Frankie anymore and he’ll get what he wants.”
The only obstacle in Edgar’s title shot would be a potential rematch pending the result of UFC 194. Edgar wouldn’t say if he’d be willing to wait around for Aldo vs. McGregor 2 or if he would take another fight in between. For now, he’s just relieved to finally knock down the door he’s been pounding on for two years.
Edgar has ran through the 145-pound division since losing a title fight to Aldo in 2013, boasting wins over BJ Penn, Cub Swanson, Urijah Faber and Charles Oliveira. His first round KO of Mendes, though, may be the most impressive of them all.
More from The Ultimate Fighter Team McGregor vs. Team Faber: Edgar gets Dana’s attention with stunning KO | Ultimate Fighter Hall prevails in night of great matchups | Full results | Postfight bonuses | Best pics from the event | Backstage interviews: Tony Ferguson, Evan Dunham| Octagon interviews: Frankie Edgar, Ryan Hall
“I knew if I kept putting myself in this position I couldn’t be denied,” Edgar said.
For Mendes, Friday marks his third loss in four fights and the road to a title shot appears murky. If there’s anything positive to take from the loss, it’s the caliber and situation of his opponents: Aldo hasn’t lost in 10 years, Mendes took the McGregor fight on short notice, and Edgar is a future hall of fame fighter.
“It doesn’t put him in a horrible place other than I’m sure he’s not happy about it,” White said.
Edgar will sit right in front to watch his next potential opponent at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday. He said the result is a win-win for him because he’d like to be the one to take the belt from Aldo, but McGregor, of course, is the big money fight.
The wait the world has endured for Aldo-McGregor is almost over. For Edgar, it means a little more now.
Jon Gagnon is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com Follow him on Twitter at @jgagnonUFC