Robbed of what he feels was rightfully his back in January, UFC lightweight contender Gray Maynard gets another opportunity to right what he perceives as a wrong this Saturday when he faces Edgar for the third time in his career. It's the second time the UFC lightweight title has been on the line.
In this interview with MMA Nation Radio on 106.7 The Fan, the laconic Maynard talks about the injuries that delayed their initially-scheduled third meeting, the adaptations of Frankie Edgar, why this fight almost feels like revenge and more.
Full audio and transcription below:
Luke Thomas: Joining us now on the McDonald's hotline, he headlines this weekend's UFC 136 pay-per-view at 9 p.m. when he seeks Frankie Edgar's UFC lightweight title, the one and only Gray "The Bully" Maynard. Gray, how are you sir?
Gray Maynard: I'm doing good, how about yourself?
Luke Thomas: Good, Gray, does it annoy you to hear me describe it that way, that it's Frankie Edgar's belt? Is that grating to you?
Gray Maynard: Nah, I've been hearing it for a long time but I've kind of changed it up in my head about how you say it and hear what I want you to say.
Luke Thomas: Let's take a step back if we can. For folks that may not know, you fought a rematch and you were supposed to fight the third fight already but you both got injured. Describe to us the injury that you suffered that postponed this rubber match.
Gray Maynard: I had some knee problems and my elbow was a little hurt too and I had to have a scope done on my elbow. It wasn't anything big.
Luke Thomas: So you did have some kind of invasive surgery procedure.
Gray Maynard: Yeah, yeah I did.
Luke Thomas: For both the knee and the elbow?
Gray Maynard: Nope, just the elbow.
Luke Thomas: And how long were the physical therapy sessions? Six weeks? Ten weeks? How long did it take you to get back in action training full time hardcore?
Gray Maynard: Well, to train full time, I only do a camp. Before the camp, it's a lot of planning, a lot of smaller stuff, cross-training and then 12 weeks it starts the full camp.
Luke Thomas: Alright, so the last time you guys fought when you had this draw was literally the first day of 2011. We're now in the 7th or 6th of October and that's a long time to sort of dwell on one guy. Frankie Edgar has said that's fatigued him and I'm sure you are as well. Are you fatigued of just dealing with the same person over and over again in your mind?
Gray Maynard: If I won, yes, but it was a draw so no.
Luke Thomas: What does that mean?
Gray Maynard: You know, because of the draw, I can't wait.
Luke Thomas: So you're not actually fatigued, you're looking forward to it. Is it almost like revenge? What is it?
Gray Maynard: Yeah, kinda. It's almost a loss. It's a draw. I'm pumped up to get back in there and get a win.
Luke Thomas: When you talked to other fighters, not even those who maybe are your friends but maybe some other ones, were they candid in their assessment? Did some give it to Frankie and some give it to you or have you even talked about It with your contemporaries?
Gray Maynard: The people that I know?
Luke Thomas: Yeah or anybody you've talked to about the match who's a pro fighter or used to be a pro fighter.
Gray Maynard: Yeah, everybody, everyone will tell you to your face that you won. I don't know if they're lying or not. They could be pissing on my head and telling me in training but I feel I won and I've heard that from a lot. The people that called it a draw were the people that counted which were the judges.
Luke Thomas: Did the UFC management ever express to you which way they viewed it?
Gray Maynard: No, they never did.
Luke Thomas: I want to talk about Frankie Edgar your opponent obviously. Were you surprised? The first time you fought, I was actually at that fight, UFC Fight Night 13, I was in Broomfield, Colorado. That was a while ago. You won it handily in April 2008. Were you surprised at his adaptations between the first and second fight? He seemed to have a much better grasp of having some sort of defensive wrestling in the second fight.
Gray Maynard: Yeah, he did a good job. He felt tough and so I took that home and I prepared for it.
Luke Thomas: How does one make adjustments like that. I guess it's been 10 months so you've had the time but realistically what can you say about a guy when it was a three year layoff and now you've had a 10 month layoff. Can you make the same kind of jump? There's just no way you can make the same kind of technical leaps in that timeframe right?
Gray Maynard: It isn't that, you just have to look at how it happened and small tuning. A lot of it was because I tried to blow it out in the first and then after that I was a little flat and he knew that.
Luke Thomas: Well UFC President Dana White has said that no matter who wins or loses, if you win, obviously you're the champion, if Frankie wins, he'll be the champion, but the loser will probably be, I think the words were, "three years away from another title shot." Your thoughts on his comments?
Gray Maynard: I mean, it is what it is. There's a lot of guys there and it happens.
Luke Thomas: Lastly before I let you go here Gray, your thoughts on Gilbert Melendez making the move over from Strikeforce to the Ultimate Fighting Championships. I know you're invested in this fight but do you think he can match the top of the division?
Gray Maynard: I haven't heard about that yet.