Frankie Edgar will close out his storied career when he faces Chris Gutierrez on the main card of UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira. In July, Edgar announced his retirement to ESPN's Brett Okamoto, stating:
In the same interview, Edgar brought up the idea of a potential fight with ex-Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz. Unfortunately, that fight didn't come to fruition, and he has since organized a fight with Bantamweight standout Chris Gutierrez. To celebrate his illustrious career, we will recap Edgar's top 10 moments inside the UFC's octagon.
In the second Featherweight fight of Edgar's career, he took on Charles Oliveira. In the bout, Edgar out-wrestled Oliveira and escaped all submission attempts, leading to the unanimous decision win for Edgar based on his time in the top position and the big shots he landed. This back-and-forth war earned both men Fight of the Night bonuses and a runner-up for 2013's Fight of the Year. This win has aged like a fine wine for Edgar as Oliveira became the Lightweight Champion and one of the greatest to ever compete in the sport.
Edgar debuted in the UFC in 2007 against Tyson Griffin and showed the fans what he was made of from his first fight. The two wrestlers went to war and scored takedowns throughout, but neither man could keep the other on the ground, leading to a standup-heavy affair. Edgar controlled most of the fight despite facing adversity in rounds 1 and 3. Edgar was rocked with a big punch in the first and survived, returning to win the round. After controlling the third and final round, Edgar was caught in a leg lock in the closing seconds, only just making it to the final bell. This hard-fought victory earned Edgar his first Fight of the Night bonus and a showcase of his future fights in the promotion.
At the end of 2014, Edgar took on Cub Swanson in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Edgar vs. Swanson. Edgar used his takedowns and wrestling to nullify Swanson's striking and landed big punches and elbows from the top. After a one-sided beating, it looked like Edgar was about to score the unanimous decision victory when he sunk in a neck crank submission and got the tap with 4 seconds left in the fight. This fight earned Edgar his first Performance of the Night bonus and put him on track to rematch José Aldo for the Featherweight title.
In 2017, Edgar met Yair Rodriguez in the Octagon on the main card of UFC 211 after Rodriguez called him out. Rodriguez was a rising star, scoring incredible flying kick knockouts and looked unstoppable at 6-0 in the UFC. A large hype train followed Rodriguez, which halted after he fought Frankie Edgar. Edgar dominated him for the whole first round, putting him on his back and landing some brutal ground and pound, which swelled Rodriguez's left eye shut. Edgar continued with the same game plan for round 2 and left Rodriguez bloodied and unable to see from his left side. When the round ended and Rodriguez returned to his corner, the doctors took one look at him and instructed the referee to wave the fight off, resulting in a TKO victory for Edgar.
One of the best knockouts of Edgar's career came when he fought Chad Mendes to close out 2015 for the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale. The story leading into the fight was about how powerful Mendes was and how he would probably score a knockout of his own. Edgar proved all the doubters wrong when he landed a left hook that dropped Mendes in round 1 and followed up with ground and pound that ended the fight. This fight earned Edgar a Performance of the Night bonus and a subsequent title shot against José Aldo in his next outing.
Frankie Edgar took on B.J Penn for the third time after both men were coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 19. The finale featured a rare trilogy where one man, Edgar, was 2-0 against his opponent, leading into their third meeting. Penn was making his Featherweight debut, hoping to eventually become the first three-weight champion in the UFC after already earning Lightweight and Welterweight gold. These hopes got shut down when Edgar dominated Penn for 3 rounds and scored the TKO due to ground and pound in the third, closing out their trilogy at 3-0 and doing the final one in a dominant, decisive fashion.
After their second fight ended in a close split draw in 2011, the UFC booked a third and final fight between the two at the end of the same year. Again, this fight was a closely contested war going into the championship rounds. Except for this time, Edgar managed to land a big uppercut off a takedown attempt that rocked Maynard, and he quickly rushed in for the finish. The referee stopped the fight with 1 minute to go in the fourth round and scored Edgar his second title defence and his first Knockout of the Night bonus.
In the co-main event spot of UFC 112: Silva vs. Maia, Frankie Edgar met B.J Penn for the first time with the Lightweight title on the line. This fight was one of the biggest upsets to date, with Edgar closing at a +620 betting underdog against the champion. Right from the beginning of the bout, Edgar came out strong, scoring takedowns and pressuring Penn. Penn was surprised by his abilities and didn't seem to have an answer for Edgar. Edgar would win on all three judges' cards and earn the Lightweight title in a huge upset. Although this fight was close, I agree with the judges giving it to Edgar. To follow up on this win, Edgar silenced disagreements with a dominant victory in the rematch.
Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard met for the second time in a rematch three years in the making after Gray had won their first fight by unanimous decision. This time, Edgar was the defending Lightweight champion coming off back-to-back wins over the previous title holder, B.J Penn. In the rematch, all three judges had Edgar losing 10-8 after nearly getting finished in the first round. But Edgar rallied and dug deep to have round 2 scored unanimously for him. The rest of the fight continued to be back and forth, with most viewers unsure who had won. By the time the war was over, there were three possible outcomes, a win for Edgar, a win for Maynard or a draw. Not even one of the judges were on the same page, as one gave it 48-46 for Maynard, one 48-46 for Edgar and one a 47-47 draw, resulting in a split draw and Edgar retaining his belt. This fight was one of the greatest in the sport's history, earning Fight of the Year in 2011 and Fight of the Night when the event was over.
The first title defense of Edgar's career saw an immediate rematch with the previous champion, B.J Penn. After a big upset win to earn the title, the fans wanted to see if Edgar was the real deal, and seeing as Penn had just broken the record for the most title defenses at Lightweight, the rematch was inevitable. The first fight was quite close, but the rematch was not at all, with all judges giving it 50-45 for the unanimous decision victory to Edgar based on his takedowns and striking. Edgar controlled Penn for most of the fight and made him look human, something only Georges St. Pierre and Matt Hughes could accomplish. This win solidified Edgar as the rightful Lightweight champion and silenced any doubt coming his way.