UFC 153 set for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil will have a new challenger for the 145 pound title. Frankie Edgar has stepped up to replace Erik Koch who had to withdraw from his title shot against Jose Aldo due to an undisclosed injury. MMA Junkie first reported the news late Thursday.
After losing his rematch to Benson Henderson for the UFC lightweight title at UFC 150, Edgar made the drop to featherweight. Though Frankie was the UFC Lightweight Champ for two years, many fans, pundits and even UFC President Dana White had said Edgar could be a beast at 145. He will now have his opportunity to prove what he can do in his new weight class on October 13th as the main event in the HSBC Arena.
MMA Junkie’s John Morgan spoke with White late Thursday who’s understandly had his hands full this past week managing the fallout of the cancellation of UFC 151. UFC 151 was supposed to happen in Las Vegas, NV on Sept 1st. When UFC Light Heavyweight Champ Jon Jones refused to fight Chael Sonnen for the title, White had to cancel the entire fight card.
Getting the call from Koch that he could no longer compete for the title had to be difficult for White to take. But White praised Edgar for making the news of Koch’s injury easier to handle. “Obviously, we’ve had a rough couple of weeks here at the UFC, and then sure enough, I walk in to work today, and Erik Koch is hurt,” White said. “But Frankie Edgar, being the stud and the warrior that he is, steps up and accepts this fight.”
UFC did go through some difficulty recently in finding a fighter that would take on Jones after the champ refused to fight Sonnen. When the news came of having to find another replacement for another title fight, Frankie stepping up to take the fight was a load off the organization’s shoulders. White posted on his official Twitter account tonight following the news “I love me some @FrankieEdgar.”
Despite losing his last two shots at the UFC lightweight strap, majority opinion has been that Edgar won his rematch against Henderson and was robbed on the judges’ scorecards. Dana White was not only pleased that Edgar accepted the fight with Aldo, but he thinks this match up promises nothing but fireworks. “Frankie has had a tough go the last couple of times with the judges, but a lot of people think he belongs at 145 pounds. Well, here we go – Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar. People have been wanting to see this fight for a long time,” White said to MMA Junkie.
There’s no doubt that Edgar will have his hands full with Jose “Scarface” Aldo who’s currently riding a 14 fight win streak. When Edgar lands in Rio, he will face a champion in Aldo that’s never been knocked out, in his native country, who’s only lost once in his 22 fight MMA career.
The injury suffered by Koch has to be disappointing for the 23 year-old fighter out of Roufusport. As a guest of MMA Fight Corner in July, Koch was pumped to face Aldo for the title. “I’ve been wanting to fight him for 3 or 4 years now, ever since I was in the WEC. So for me, it was no problem,” a hyped Koch said. “We were actually deciding what our next move was going to be, who I was going to fight, and my manager was gonna make the call and we were thinking maybe Hioki because he’d turned down the fight and I pretty much wanted whoever would get me the closest step to Aldo. And they said, ‘How about Aldo. Nobody wants to fight him. You want to fight him?’ You’re an idiot if you turn down a title fight. I jumped right on it. We fight in the UFC man. If you’re not looking to be the best and be a champion in the UFC, then I don’t know what you’re doing there.”
No update on his injury or when he’ll return has been revealed. Koch was set to fight Aldo at UFC 149 in Calgary in July, but Aldo was injured and the bout was moved to UFC 153. Koch’s last fight was in September 2011. He defeated Jonathan Brookins via unanimous decision.