UFC featherweight contender Frankie Edgar has been lobbying for a shot at the Conor McGregor and the UFC 145-pound title for at least a year and a half, and the New Jersey native feels he's just one step away from making his wish come true.
And not only does Edgar want nothing more than to take the title away from McGregor, but he sees the perfect opportunity to do so when the UFC debuts in New York City, just 73 miles away from his hometown of Toms River, N.J., later this year at UFC 205.
"I'd love to get a win here in July and then fight McGregor for that real title in the Garden in November," Edgar told FOXBusiness.com. "If not McGregor, then I'll be defending my title in the Garden."
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But before Edgar can even sniff a shot against McGregor at MSG, he has a big challenge in front of him in former featherweight champion Jose Aldo, a man he lost to three years ago.
The pair of top featherweights engaged in an instant classic at UFC 156 that saw Aldo defend his title for the fourth time and Edgar suffer his third straight loss. But things have changed quite a bit since that fight.
"The momentum is on my side. Last time I was coming off of two close losses up at lightweight, losing the belt and everything. This time, I'm the one with the five-fight winning streak. He's coming off of a devastating loss," Edgar said. "Three years went by. I'm much more experienced, I'm much more mature as a fighter, and I'm much more comfortable in there."
Both Edgar and Aldo spent that last four months since December's UFC 194 making their case for a shot at McGregor. Instead, they were matched up with each other with the interim title on the line and the winner presumably fighting McGregor later this year in a title unification bout. Though it's not ideal, Edgar says there are still some positives to facing Aldo again while McGregor tries to get his revenge against Nate Diaz.
"It's kind of silly. It doesn't really make sense," Edgar said. "But I get to fight a five-round fight, I get to fight a legend in Aldo and be on one of the biggest cards in UFC history. There's a lot of plus sides to it. And also, the interim's going to guarantee me a shot at the title. If I hold the interim, there's no ifs, ands or buts about it. I have to be fighting that guy for the title, or my title becomes the title if [McGregor] doesn't come down."
It looks like we'll get a featherweight title fight in New York later this year, but Edgar will have to take care of business at UFC 200 to get his wish.