In Part 1 of our Q&A with Frankie “The Answer” Edgar, the lightweight champ shared details on his training (he uses the TRX system) as well as his future ambitions (he’s interested in fighting for a title in a different weight class). Like many top UFC fighters, Edgar has a background in wrestling, and it’s helped him reach the summit of the MMA mountain.
Here’s Part 2 of our interview with the baddest 155-pounder walking the planet.
STACK: Is this your first camp using the TRX Suspension Trainer?
Edgar: I’ve been with my current strength and conditioning coach for about three years now, and we’ve been implementing TRX. My coach is Brian Blue; he’s the co-owner of All Star Sports Academy in Tom’s River, New Jersey.
STACK: You don’t have a lot of weight to cut, but in your wrestling background, you had to make weight at times. How do you suggest wrestlers do it safely?
Edgar: It’s always better to eat and work out than not eat and not work out. I think a lot of kids, they get a little lazy sometimes, and they say, “I’d rather skip a meal and not work out.” I’d rather eat and work out. It’s going to benefit you in the long run; it’s going to make you feel better, perform better. I help out at Rutgers University, and I try and instill that in our guys today. [In the past,] I was on staff. Now, with my schedule, I’m more of a volunteer coach. But I’m in there on a weekly basis.
STACK: What are some lessons you learned as a high school and collegiate wrestler?
Edgar: First and foremost, discipline. Being a wrestler, you have to be super disciplined if you want to be successful. Not only in the room, but at home, at the kitchen table. You need time management, because you’re a student-athlete. Even just the fact that you’re competing from such a young age—showing up at a tournament, not knowing who you’re facing, wrestling five, six guys in a day—that gets you ready to fight at this stage. It’s just another competition, and that’s how you have to approach it. Just like a wrestling match.
STACK: When did you realize you wanted to be a pro MMA fighter?
Edgar: I was always a big fan of it. When I was in seventh grade, I was watching UFC 1 or 2. Then [UFC] kind of went dormant, it was underground. I was in college, my senior year, [and] we’d all get together and watch the Pay-Per-Views. And then the reality show [The Ultimate Fighter] really kind of got my attention. I was like, “All right, I’m going to give this a shot when I go home.”
I just joined a local gym close to my house, and I had my first fight after two weeks.
STACK: Did you win?
Edgar: I did. It was an unsanctioned fight in New York, actually.
STACK: You were the underdog when you fought B.J. Penn, and it’s been a theme throughout your career. How does that motivate you in training?
Edgar: I feel like I’m always the underdog. I’m one of the smaller guys in the division. With that fight with B.J., I was an 8 to 1 dog. The good thing about being an underdog is that no one expects much from you. There’s not a lot of pressure on you. But in my eyes, I always have pressure on myself, because every time I step in there, I fight to win, you know? I expect to win. That’s how I train. The underdog persona can motivate you. It’s like no one thinks you can. Say you’re running down the road or you’re in a workout; you think, “No one thinks I can.” So it makes you that much more mentally tough, because no one thinks you can but you have to think you can.
STACK: You’re fighting Ben Henderson at UFC 144. Give us a breakdown of Henderson as a fighter.
Edgar: Ben’s super tough. He’s got good stand up, solid wrestling—very, very hard to submit. And he’s got a good offensive game as well. [But] I feel like I match up well with anybody. You give me a training camp, I’m going to match up really well with him. The people around me are getting me ready, better than most. And that’s all I can do. Just be as ready as I can be for this fight, and come February 26, I hope to leave Japan the champion.