Whenever an injury happens to a fighter, the first question to usually come to mind is who will replace him. It is even worse when it is a champion, because the challenger is stuck in the awkward position of either waiting for the champ, Jose Aldo to come back or facing someone new. No choice is actually right, because either one could lose your shot at the title. Luckily, the choice is very easy for former Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. According to his manager, Ali Abdel-Aziz, “If the UFC wants Frankie to fight anybody, he’ll fight anybody.”
This is great news for the UFC as they now have the opportunity to keep a relatively big name star on the card. With the loss of Rampage, Aldo, and Vitor, the card has lost a lot of its luster. Now, they have a fighter who is a born fighter and never disappoints. The questions is who should Edgar fight? Does he take an intriguing fight at 155, or does he stick to his plan to fight at 145?
The most interesting match-up for Edgar at 155 may be Donald Cerrone. He has a tentative date set for fighting Anthony Pettis, but he is known for taking fights on short notice, and at the same time for helping out the UFC. Who would want to see that fight? At 145, there is not many fighters with big enough names to carry a card. It is unknown if ever Cerrone could carry a PPV himself.
Two fighters at 145 stick out. One is Chad Mendes who had offered to take the fight, but if he beat Edgar it would take away a huge money fight for the UFC between Aldo and Edgar. Then you have Ricardo Lamas who agreed to take on Edgar in December, then agreed to take on Aldo at 153 for the title, but lost both fights when Edgar slipped into the title fight. While not as big as name as Mendes he does seem intriguing after his upset win over Hatsu Hioki. Also, a win for either in that fight gives legitimacy for their title claims when the champion returns. There is also one other alternative to keep a title fight on this card.
Frankie recently made the claim that he could drop to 135, and Renan Barao recently took a interim title with little to no damage. If Edgar could make 135 would a match with Barao be possible? Renan is also Brazilian which would please the fans coming to the card where all the other suitable replacements are not. That fight is a win-win situation where Frankie still gets to fight for a belt, and whoever wins will make that much more intriguing for Cruz to fight on his return since they have each others name on their list of wins.