Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011 | 2:05 a.m.
Of all the hits Gray Maynard took Saturday night at UFC 125 in his lightweight championship bout against Frankie Edgar, this one hurt the worst.
After the bout ended in a draw, UFC Vice President Craig Borsari momentarily announced in the post-fight press conference that Maynard would not get an automatic rematch with Edgar. Borsari, on behalf of absent UFC President Dana White, said Edgar would still take on former WEC standout and top contender Anthony Pettis.
Maynard looked down, put his head in his hands and shed a few tears when he heard the news.
“Obviously, it doesn’t feel good,” Maynard said. “I thought that was my fight. I thought I had the belt.”
Maynard was likely much happier less than an hour later after an apparent change of heart from White. According to a report from Yahoo! Sports, White has decided to let Maynard pass Pettis and fight Edgar again for the lightweight championship.
“When I thought about it more, how can I in good conscience not give that shot to Gray Maynard?” White told the site. “He came in there and he fought his ass off and he deserves that rematch.”
Edgar would agree. Edgar, who was also at the press conference, was surprised when he heard he wouldn’t fight Maynard next.
Maynard accounts for the only two blips on Edgar’s 13-1-1 record. In addition to Saturday’s draw, Maynard scored a unanimous decision over Edgar in 2008. Edgar said he would prefer to fight Maynard for the third time as soon as possible.
“I probably would to add some closure,” he said. “He’s got a win over me and now we have a draw. For me, I would like the opportunity.”
It’s hard to imagine the third fight can live up to Saturday’s version. Two judges scored it 48-46, one in favor of Maynard and the other for Edgar. The third judge had it at an even 47-47.
Although White may have waffled on future scheduling plans, he had an easy decision in making Edgar vs. Maynard Fight of the Night at UFC 125.
It featured one of the most dominant rounds without a knockout in MMA history. Maynard pummeled Edgar repeatedly in the first round and was seemingly a shot away from a knockout.
After Maynard’s second barrage of punches, Edgar retreated in a daze and almost fell over on his own.
“I got hit with a big shot,” Edgar said. “He came out strong and did a good job, but I bounced back and felt like I won the last four rounds.”
Maynard couldn’t help but wonder if Edgar even deserved to keep fighting the next four rounds. Asked if the fight should have been stopped in the first round, Maynard said “it could have been.”
He also questioned why all the judges scored it only 10-8 in his favor. Maynard felt 10-7 was a more appropriate tally.
“I dropped him how many times? Five times, I dropped him,” Maynard said of the first round. “He didn’t even land a punch and he gets an 8.”
Not even Maynard would argue he won the second or fourth rounds. Edgar regrouped following his disastrous first round after a pep talk from his training staff and speared Maynard for a major takedown in both the second and fourth rounds.
Maynard said the second round was his worst because he was frustrated and trying to end the fight with one knockout blow.
“I was swinging for the fences,” Maynard said. “I had to pull back. I felt tired and had to ease back a little back and didn’t get going until the third round.”
But Maynard said he thought he easily won third round — and probably the fifth, too. Edgar was just as adamant he took those two.
“The first round obviously wasn’t my round,” Edgar said, “but the rest of the rounds I think I won.”
Their reaction to the decision announcement proved neither Maynard nor Edgar were faking their belief that they won the fight. Maynard immediately put his arms up in protest.
“I think that was my fight,” Maynard said. “I thought I had that.”
Edgar threw the championship belt he retained behind him.
“I felt I had the win and I got the draw,” Edgar said. “It’s not that I didn’t want the belt. It was the heat of the moment, that’s all.”
Agree to disagree. Maynard and Edgar will have to settle it next time.