By Dave Doyle
Mixed martial arts fans long debated who would win a superfight between then-UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and featherweight standard-bearer Jose Aldo Jr.
The pair finally meet Saturday night in the main event of UFC 156 at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Edgar, the pride of Toms River, N.J., is no longer the lightweight champion and will make his 145-pound debut as he challenges for Aldo's featherweight title. But whether or not the bout can technically still be considered a "superfight," the matchup still boasts all the ingredients needed for a potential super fight.
Edgar (14-3-1) is one of the UFC's most popular fighters, a plucky underdog who who used willingness to engage in slugfests to force his way to a two-year lightweight title reign. When he finally lost the belt to Benson Henderson last February, then came out on the wrong end of a controversial decision in last summer's rematch, Edgar, who didn't cut weight to make the lightweight limit, made the decision to drop down.
"I still feel like my power is the same as it was when I fought at 155 [pounds]," said Edgar. "I think I'll be able to utilize my wrestling a little better, and I'll be able to use my size a little more. I won't be the biggest 145 pounder, but I'm not going to be as much outsized as I was at 155."
The former lightweight champ will meet a Brazilian buzzsaw who hasn't lost since 2005. A large featherweight from Manaus who cuts considerable weigh to meet the limit, Aldo has laid waste to the competition, with 13 consecutive wins to his credit. Also has openly speculated at a possible move to lightweight should he defeat Edgar on Saturday.
Edgar, a former NCAA wrestler at Clarion and current assistant coach at Rutgers, isn't afraid to use his wrestling to keep opponents honest. Aldo can knock you out with his fists, knees and elbows, often in a spectacular manner. Whether Edgar can implement his wrestling without getting flattened will go a long way toward determining the winner.
The UFC's annual Super Bowl Saturday card boasts one of the company's most stacked lineups in recent months. In the co-main event, former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans (20-2-1) returns to action and meets veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (20-5). Also, controversial heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem (36-11, 1 no-contest), the only man to simultaneously hold major MMA and kickboxing heavyweight titles, returns after a steroid suspension to meet Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva (17-4).