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Frankie Edgar readies for super MMA fight

Former UFC lightweight champ stops by Burbank ahead of featherweight title shot.

January 29, 2013|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

BURBANK — With the Super Bowl quickly approaching and the buzz building, the Ultimate Fighting Championship began its own big week of building buzz on Monday, as well.

As has become an annual tradition since 2005, the UFC will put on a big night with a big fight on the eve of the big game.

And on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Frankie Edgar will challenge UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo in the main event of UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar.

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Edgar and members of his fight camp stopped by Burbank on Monday afternoon to commence fight week, as the former UFC lightweight champion joined members of the media at Morton’s The Steakhouse ahead of his title challenge.

The card carries a bit of nostalgic value for the New Jersey native, as his UFC debut six years ago came on the Super Bowl card from Vegas at the same Mandalay Bay.

“That definitely means something to me,” Edgar said. “[I am] just thankful and blessed to be where I’m at right now.

“Here we are [six] years down the road.”

In 2007, Edgar made his UFC debut as the third fight of a card headlined by the likes of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Mirko “Crocop” Filopovic and Anderson Silva. But Edgar and opponent Tyson Griffin stole the show, with Edgar winning a furious fight via unanimous decision over the favored Griffin with both of them taking fight of the night honors.

Now, Edgar (15-3-1) will compete in his seventh straight championship bout.

He upset BJ Penn in April 2010 for the UFC lightweight title, then had three successful title defenses before losing consecutive fights to current champion Benson Henderson. Both were razor-thin decisions.

“I was definitely upset,” said Edgar of the controversial decisions going against him. “I just have to go back into the gym and figure out a way to be more dominant.”

But nobody in the UFC has been dominant against Aldo (21-1), as the reigning 145-pound champion has won 14-straight bouts and has finished 15 of his career fights.

“He mixes [his attack] up well,” said Edgar, who will fight for the first time at 145 pounds Saturday after a career at 155 in which he rarely cut more than a few pounds to make weight as opposed to his opponents cutting far more. “He’s fast and very explosive.”

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