It is sometimes said that the fight game is ‘no country for old men’ and after Frankie Edgar’s shocking knockout defeat to Cory Sandhagen last weekend, Khabib Nurmagomedov thinks the veteran should consider hanging up his gloves.
Former UFC lightweight champion Edgar suffered just the third stoppage loss of his future Hall of Fame career at last weekend’s UFC event in Las Vegas, losing to Sandhagen – a man 11 years his junior – less than 30 seconds into the first round after ‘The Sandman’ suitably lived up to his moniker by sending Edgar tumbling unconscious to the canvas after connecting flush with a flying knee.
The defeat, Edgar’s third in his last four fights, represents a significant downturn in results for the former undisputed 155lbs champion, but despite the mounting defeats the 39-year-old indicated shortly after the fight that we haven’t seen the last of him inside the UFC Octagon.
Khabib, though, seems to wish that Edgar would reconsider.
At the time of Nurmagomedov’s entry into the UFC’s lightweight fold nine years ago, Frankie Edgar was at the top of the mountain. He had just defended his world title by beating dominant wrestler Gray Maynard by strikes in the fourth round main event fight at UFC 136 – itself a rematch one of the most exciting world title fights in UFC history, a five-round draw nine months later which was characterized by Edgar’s steadfast refusal to accept defeat.
But as the years passed, so too has Edgar’s ability to overcome the odds. His famously iron chin seems to have receded somewhat and his once puzzling fleet-footedness in the cage has shown that it can be timed – as Sandhagen so masterfully proved late on Saturday night.
And amid these mounting factors, Khabib – who has gone on record about his admiration for Edgar – says that maybe now is the time for the legendary former champion to call it a day.
“I texted Ali (Abdelaziz) right away to find out how Frankie was,” Khabib told the media including RT Sport of his reaction to Edgar’s defeat. “Because it was a hard knockout. I know Frankie, I know his kids, his family.
“Of course, I feel for him. Sometimes I just put myself in his place – to get knocked out like this, especially when your kids can see it – and his kids are 7-8 years old, do wrestling themselves, they even compete already – that’s tough.”
Edgar, though, says that he is well aware of the risks involved in high level mixed martial arts.
“This game can be a cruel b*tch and Saturday night was just that, but I ain’t panicked. I’ve been here before,” he wrote online in the hours after his loss, before confirming he will compete again.
But Khabib – the man who entered retirement as an undefeated world champion – has his concerns.
“I wouldn’t like to see my friends get knocked out like that,” he explained on the sidelines of the EFC 33 event in Moscow this week, this first time his newly-acquired promotion has been in the Russian capital.
“It’s not right to compete at that weight class at his age. There must be some close ones around to tell him it’s enough. Yes, we all want to earn money, but there are some more ways to do it.
“Your age doesn’t care about your name. When the game gets ahead of you, you should just stop.”