Wednesday 21 March 2018

'He should man up and stop being so scared' - Frankie Edgar's coach calls out Conor McGregor

McGregor: Undisputed champion
McGregor: Undisputed champion

Tom Rooney

Frankie Edgar’s coach believes Conor McGregor has no business moving up a division before making good on his promise of giving the New Jersey native a shot at the featherweight title.

Since McGregor dethroned Jose Aldo as the 145 lbs. kingpin in just 13 seconds at UFC 194 last Saturday, there have been a myriad of varying statements as to what the Dubliner will do next.

In the immediate aftermath of his victory over the Brazilian, he expressed a long-held desire of moving up to lightweight to face the bracket’s champion. That so happens to be Rafael Dos Anjos, who meets Donald Cerrone in Orlando this weekend.

Following UFC 194, Dana White told Fox Sports that the ‘Notorious’ would be given an immediate crack at the winner of the bout, should he migrate from featherweight.

However, the previous evening, after he knocked out Chad Mendes in less than a round, he also informed Edgar that he was next in line to fight for the featherweight belt.

What’s more, both McGregor, who may be out for six months with a wrist injury, and his coach John Kavanagh, said if Edgar made a compelling case for himself against Mendes then he would not be denied his chance. Which, to be fair, is exactly what he did.

According to Edgar’s coach Mark Henry, if McGregor were to renege on his promise it would be the second time he has avoided the former lightweight champion, who offered to step in for the injured Aldo last July, only for the promotion to call on Mendes for UFC 189.

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"I saw Conor's coach's remark on your show,” he told Ariel Helwani of “Bro, why is his boy running so bad?" Henry asked.

 "Now, he has [had] two chances to fight Frankie. First was when Aldo got hurt [before UFC 189]and the UFC asked Chad [Mendes] 'Have you been training?' and he said no, he's been doing a hunting show. They asked Frankie, and he said, 'I train all year, yeah, I'm ready.' He picks Mendes."

As is public knowledge, the SBG Ireland man struggles greatly to make 145 lbs. and always has done, although he's never missed weight. And, as much as McGregor wants to try his hand with the best of the talent stacked lightweight division, there are potential roadblocks.

The Crumlin man was adamant that he would not vacate his newly earned title in doing so, which would not be the norm in the UFC. While Dana White has intimated that a divisional migration could be contingent on him relinquishing his crown. Thus, a power struggle may be afoot.

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Henry believes that McGregor is obligated to stay put until he and Edgar have concluded what he sees as unfinished business. As stated, Edgar, despite being considerably undersized for the division won the title at lightweight and, only when he lost the belt to Ben Henderson, did he move down.

In his first appearance at featherweight Edgar lost to Aldo in a championship bout at UFC 156 in 2013. In the interim, he has recorded five consecutive victories, and his coach contends that more than entitles him to the chance to join Randy Couture and BJ Penn as the only UFC fighters to win titles in two divisions.

"Now Frankie finishes the same guy [Mendes] he [McGregor] had on 10-day notice that spanked him until he got tired, and Frankie does his part," Henry said.

"No one has ever been able to jump up in weight class before taking care of the top five, and this guy doesn't even have one defense," Henry said. "The guy says he would fight Frankie if Frankie took care of business.

"Well, he did, so he should be a man of his word and stop being so scared. He's the one that's been scared for so many years cutting down from 180, 175 to fight guys with less range, weight and height, while Frankie was 152 fighting 155.

"So now you have the belt –  man up and defend it. Like they said in Braveheart, 'Don't tuck tail and run.'"

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