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Edgar's Road to 125 – Part Two

UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar checks in with his second of three blogs leading up to his UFC 125 title defense against Gray Maynard
By the time you read this, it will be less than a week before my second title defense against Gray Maynard. I hope everyone had a good holiday. I had Christmas Eve and Christmas with my family, going straight from training to be with them. Nothing really changed as far as my training schedule. It was kinda convenient that we had Christmas at my house this year, so I got my workout in and popped back there for Christmas so it was no big deal.

I fought a couple times in December before, but it was before Christmas, so this has been something new for me as far as my fighting career goes. But throughout wrestling we would always compete a couple days after Christmas and Thanksgiving, and I’ve always trained through the holidays, so in that sense it’s business as usual. My wife has been around since the wrestling days, so she gets it, and she knows it’s part of the job, so she’s very supportive. I usually fight three times a year, and it’s a little unique that I get some downtime when others don’t, so if I had a job where I had to work overtime on Christmas, so be it.

Last week was more hard training as well as a bunch of interviews to talk about the fight. We had the UFC 125 conference call with Gray last Tuesday as well. This being my third title fight, it was the third conference call I did and I’m getting more accustomed to them. When it comes to scheduling all the other interviews I play it by ear. My schedule shifts around, and nothing’s set in stone when it comes to certain times, so I fit in the interviews at different times and it’s no big deal. I really don’t read a lot of the stuff out there though. I have a Twitter account and I follow a couple people on there so if I see things there I may check them out, but I try to stay off the internet and I’m not a big computer guy as it is. In the beginning I used to be into it, but after a couple of comments I didn’t like, I realized it gets to me, so I just steer clear of it.

A lot of people have been talking about the last WEC lightweight title fight between Anthony Pettis and Ben Henderson, and congratulations to both guys on a great fight. I caught bits and pieces of it and I plan on checking out the whole thing after my fight. Hopefully this fight goes well and I’ll be seeing Pettis in the future.

The one part I definitely caught was Pettis’ kick. You can’t really miss it because it’s on ESPN all the time, and I thought it was really phenomenal. It brought great attention to the sport. And if you want to know, no, I haven’t tried it – I don’t want to hurt myself right now, but I’m sure I’ll mess around with it in the future. It’s pretty innovative stuff.

So while I won’t be jumping off the cage on January 1st, we are working hard to keep my game evolving. To do that, I always go back and critique my fights myself, but mostly my coaches find little things to work on, especially Mark Henry, because he’s really good at that. Our biggest thing is to improve between each fight. So the January 1st Frankie Edgar should be able to beat the August 28th Frankie Edgar, and that’s the way I approach it. As long as I make the improvements where I think I’m a better fighter than I was the last fight, I’m happy. I didn’t take much time off after the last fight, only a week, everything’s going according to plan, and I feel like I’ve made the improvements I’ve needed to make for this fight.

I can definitely see a lot of standup in this fight. It’s a five round fight, we’re both wrestlers, and we could possibly negate that from each other. But I know his biggest thing is that he wins fights with his wrestling, so I wouldn’t mind standing the whole time. I do look for shots as well, but he wins fights predominantly with his wrestling and I think that’s what he’s gonna try to stick with.

For me, getting my standup to where I’m happy with it was a natural progression. I always was a gritty kid, and even in my early fights, where I was really sloppy in the standup, I would always try to at least throw my hands a little bit. I didn’t mind taking punches. But to believe in it, and to believe that I could win fights with my standup, it just took repetition and believing in myself. And Mark makes you believe in yourself because he just drills it in your head. After a while, if you’re doing it all the time in practice, sooner or later you’re gonna say ‘all right, I can do this for real.’ When I fought Sean Sherk, I knew he wasn’t gonna be easy to take down, so I knew I had to believe in my standup.

And I’m the type of kid, whether I’m doing boxing, jiu-jitsu or anything, if I get taught something in practice, I’m gonna put it to use in sparring right away. That’s the only way it’s going to get ingrained in your style and you make it part of your game. I think that’s what helped me do it. If we do something on the pads, the next sparring session I’ll try it, and once it started working, then I was like ‘If I can do this sparring, there’s no reason I can’t do it in a fight.’

It’s almost fight time now. Travel day is tomorrow, and the next time you hear from me, I’ll be in Vegas.

For more information on Frankie Edgar, follow him on Twitter @FrankieEdgar

Read Part One

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