UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar checks in with his final blog leading up to his UFC 125 title defense against Gray Maynard
In Las Vegas, fight night is a couple days away and I can’t wait to get in there. The whole fight week preparation makes the anticipation build for me. It’s such a waiting game and you try to keep a level head and keep focused, and when you get into the cage, it’s like ‘ah, I can finally let it all out now.’ There’s nothing that really triggers the switch into fight mode, it’s just my will to win that makes me want to compete hard and fight hard.
A lot of people think you have to be angry or hate your opponent to fight hard, but that’s not the case for me, and I don’t think it is for Gray either. Gray and I come from wrestling backgrounds and we compete. Sometimes we compete against our friends, and that’s what it is. It’s definitely a fight and you have to come in there expecting to take damage and do damage, but realistically, it’s still a competition. You want to bring the attitude of a fight into it just so you have that chip on your shoulder, but there’s no animosity for me.
In fact, I kinda go in there doubting myself a little bit because it keeps me on my toes. I always believe in my skills, but I never think I’m gonna have such a strong edge in one area because that might slow me down. I like to think that this guy’s a lot better than he may be because it’s gonna keep me fast and keep me aware.
So we survived the Blizzard that hit Jersey, got into Vegas, took care of our business with the UFC, and since then it’s been smooth sailing. When I’m on site for the fight, I’ll train at night, close to the time when I think I’ll be fighting. In the mornings I try to run outside and try to get that air and sun in. Friday morning I’ll cut the little bit of weight that I have to. There’s not a lot, so it’s more of just a run through with my team. I’ll hit pads with sweatpants on and when I’m done with that, weigh in, and then relax. Saturday morning I’ll get in the Octagon, and Saturday night it’s go time.
The waiting is definitely the toughest part though. Fight week is fun and relaxing because you’re not training as hard and you get to hang out with your teammates and there’s a lot of downtime. We’re close, we’re all buddies, so we cut on each other, watch some good movies, and have fun, so I enjoy it in that sense, but waiting for the fight is the toughest part.
I feel great for Saturday night though and I’m ready to go five hard rounds if necessary. I’ve been five rounds twice against BJ (Penn), and I’ve been sparring five rounds for quite a while now, even before training for BJ just because I like doing extra. So I’m pretty accustomed to it, and even though Gray hasn’t fought five rounds yet, he comes from a great camp, he has Randy (Couture) in his corner and Randy’s fought many championship fights, so I’m sure he’s made the adjustments. For me, there really should be no difference between rounds four and three as long as you’re preparing in the gym.
Like I wrote in the last blog, I don’t really go on the internet that much to see what people are saying, so I don’t know whether I’m seen as the underdog or not. If I am, that’s not a big deal because I’ve been dealing with that my whole career. Will that change after beating Gray? I think it will help, but it just seems that’s the way it is for me. There are still people out there doubting me, and that’s fine because whether I win or lose this fight, I’m still the same fighter and I’m still the same person, so it doesn’t matter. It matters more to them than it does to me.
And if I go into my next fight as a favorite, that’s gonna be something new for me, but I think I’ll just go about training, go about preparing and always keep my opponents on a high pedestal because that will keep me motivated.
But right now, it’s all about Saturday night. Nothing else matters to me right now, and when the cage door closes, all I’m thinking is focus, relax, and perform. I believe in everything I did to this point, and let it all hang out.
Thanks for the support, see you at the MGM Grand.
For more information on Frankie Edgar, follow him on Twitter @FrankieEdgar