In the afterglow of Frankie Edgar's (14-1-1) remarkable victory over Gray Maynard (10-1-1) at the headlining event of UFC 136 in Houston, Texas, many were left wondering what exactly to think of the 29-year-old New Jersey native. In two title defense against "The Bully," Edgar was forced to recover from a devastating first-round that would have ended the nights of any other fighter alive, only to first respond with an implausible come-from-behind draw, and finally, a harrowing knockout that put any remaining doubt to rest. Afterwards, UFC President Dana White was so impressed that he made a rather bold statement.
"He's like the Arturo Gatti of MMA," White said at the post-UFC 136 press conference. "I have so much respect for him. I'm going to say this here tonight, and I don't care who disagrees, you're wrong and I'm right. He's the number-two pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Period. The only thing that keeps him from being number-one is that Anderson Silva has not been beaten in the UFC."
"If you really look at what pound-for-pound means, you cannot deny that Frankie Edgar is number two. The guy weighs 145 pounds. He's beating people at 155 pounds," White continued. "When Frankie Edgar won that fight I literally jumped out of my seat and was jumping up and down. What he did tonight was amazing. He's the number-two pound-for-pound fighter in the world. I don't give a sh*t what anybody else says. It's the truth."
As the figurehead for an organization that houses almost all of the dominant MMA champions, White's declaration came as a bit of a surprise to the assembly. Still, after Saturday night's performance, even a shell-shocked Gray Maynard couldn't help but agree.
"Yeah, obviously. He's done a great job," Maynard soberly explained. "He's a tough kid to beat. I think him, Anderson (Silva), Jon Jones, and GSP (Georges St. Pierre), they're all up there."