Daily Debate results: Miocic, Holm or Edgar? Who’s got the best shot to reclaim UFC gold?

Three former UFC champions have new chances to win gold in the not-too-distant future.

Stipe Miocic will try to regain the heavyweight title from Daniel Cormier at UFC 241; former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar will try to take featherweight gold from Max Holloway at UFC 240; and Holly Holm will try to become a two-time bantamweight champ when she meets Amanda Nunes at UFC 239.

For our Daily Debate, we wanted to know: Which of those three has the best chance of winning? It’s a runaway, by the way.

The results, via Twitter:

To hear the MMA Junkie Radio crew weigh in on the topic, watch the video above.

For the latest on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMA Junkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio. You can also check out www.siriusxm.com/siriusxmfightnation.

Twitter Mailbag: On Jon Jones’ latest heavyweight refusal, the legality of various slams, and more

Is Jon Jones’ latest heavyweight brush-off his true position, or is it tactics? Why does a submission attempt suddenly make dangerous spike slams just fine? And what chance are we giving Frankie Edgar against UFC featherweight champ Max Holloway?

That and other pressing questions in this week’s Twitter Mailbag. To ask a question of your own, tweet to @BenFowlkesMMA.

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First reaction? I don’t believe him. It strikes me as a negotiating tactic.

Jon Jones has said in the past that the UFC would need to up his pay in order to go up to heavyweight, but he’d do it if the dollar figures were right. I believe that. I do not believe that Jones is especially concerned about Daniel Cormier’s power at heavyweight. Even if maybe he should be, I just don’t think his mind would ever go there.

I also wonder if it’s an attempt to bait Cormier back down to light heavyweight. All that stuff about how devastating it would be for Cormier to lose the weight and then get beat again? It’s hard to hear that and not wonder if it’s Jones’ way of goading him. And you know what else? It almost seems like it could work.

You are not alone there. It’s hard to know for sure exactly what was going on with Tony Ferguson and what might have brought it on, which makes it impossible (and irresponsible) for us to speculate too specifically at his mental state from afar.

You’d hope the UFC took it seriously and made sure he was in a good place before offering him a big fight like this, just like you’d hope Ferguson’s team would speak up if they had serious concerns.

But see, the fight game is not known for prioritizing the mental or physical health of its athletes. Instead it’s known for doing whatever it takes to keep the machine running. So yeah, that worries me. I hope Ferguson knows what he’s doing. I also hope those around him are looking out for him, and not just for themselves.

First thing I do, obviously, is order a bottle of sarsaparilla. (Sioux City Sarsaparilla is a good one.) Then I twitch my bushy mustache, cock my head to the side, and peer out from under my cowboy hat at the visage of Dustin Poirier.

“You know what that Dagestani fella is gonna try to do to you, don’t ya?” I ask him.

Poirier nods and says nothing.

“My advice? Don’t get no closer to him than two awkward kids slow-dancing at the church social.”

Poirier scoffs. “Easier said than done,” he remarks.

Here I pause to sip knowingly from my sarsaparilla. “It is for a fact,” I say. “But that don’t make it wrong.”

He’s just about to get up and push away from the bar with a confused look on his face when I stop him.

“One other thing?” I say. “I wouldn’t say nothing bad about his homeland or his family or his religion if I was you. But have it your way.”

The way the “unified” rules explain it, the reason fighters can slam an opponent any way they want when the opponent is attempting a submission is “because they are not in control of their opponent’s body.”

In other words, the fighter going for a submission has a choice: release the hold and adjust your own body positioning or else hold onto it and take the ride wherever it leads.

You could argue that this assumes too much, and I wouldn’t necessarily disagree. Not all submissions or slams are created equally. And yes, it is dangerous to be out here spiking people on their heads, whether there’s a submission attempt involved or not. But danger alone is also in the job description, so it seems fair to me to put some of the onus on the slammee rather than the slammer in certain situations.

The alternative is, what, we outlaw slams of all kinds? We require any fighter attempting a throw or slam to take utmost care to prevent opponents from landing on their heads? We have a hard enough time enforcing the rules that are clear and obvious. Trying to get too officious with this one would be a nightmare.

Same. Max Holloway lost his lightweight (interim) title bid, but he’s still a force at featherweight, where his power and his pace typically overwhelms opponents in a way that just didn’t carry over into the next weight class. Frankie Edgar is terrifyingly tough. We know this. But I just don’t see that many paths to victory for him against a guy like Holloway.

Also, and maybe I’m just projecting here? But it seems like that was the assumption this fight was made under. Like, sure, we owe Edgar a title shot and we need something to bolster the summer lineup. But it’s fine because Holloway will win and Alexander Volkanovski can have his shot before the end of the year.

If you want to make the MMA gods laugh, though, go ahead and tell them your plans for a UFC title.

Has it really come to this? Really?? Fine. We’ve only seen Jake Hager fight twice and we have yet to see Greg Hardy against anyone who wasn’t chosen specifically because they seemed likely to lose, but I might actually have to go with Hager here. He has legit college wrestling experience and that’s where Hardy is probably weakest. You put that guy on his back, take him out of the first round, and suddenly he’s a lot more beatable.

For a little perspective, let’s remind ourselves that Kevin Lee’s two recent losses were to “El Cucuy” and “Raging Al,” both of whom are very good. If he loses to Rafael dos Anjos, that’s a former lightweight champ, which is also not exactly the bottom of the barrel.

But you’re right, if Lee wants to stay in the conversation at any weight, this is a fight he needs to win. The good news for him is that Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman already showed him how, and he’s a fighter who might be able to follow that blueprint.

On the flip side, if RDA hasn’t closed those gaps in his game by now? Sorry, it probably won’t ever happen.

Ben Fowlkes is MMA Junkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Follow him on Twitter at @BenFowlkesMMA. Twitter Mailbag appears every Thursday on MMA Junkie.

Stream or download MMA Junkie Radio #2920 with Frankie Edgar, Damon Jackson

Stream or download Wednesday’s episode of MMA Junkie Radio with Frankie Edgar and Damon Jackson.

Edgar discussed how his shot at Max Holloway’s featherweight tile came about and the prospects of fighting Alexander Volkanovski next if he wins, and Damon Jackson talked about turning down a Dana White’s Contender Series offer for the PFL and the chance at winning $1 million.

Stream or download the entire episode over at AudioBoom.com, or watch a replay in the video above.

Frankie Edgar says title shot was ‘meant to be,’ happy to fight Alexander Volkanovski before year’s end

Frankie Edgar knew he might get the next crack at Max Holloway even before this past weekend’s UFC 237 event, but he wouldn’t let himself get too worked up until the promotion made it official.

“Now that it’s all done, I’m excited,” Edgar told MMA Junkie Radio.

Edgar (23-6-1 MMA, 17-6-1 UFC) and reigning featherweight champion Max Holloway (20-4 MMA, 16-4 UFC) meet in the main event of UFC 240, which takes place July 27 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Edgar has been campaigning for the title shot since an April 2018 win over Cub Swanson. That result came just one month after “The Answer” did the UFC a solid, remaining on the card at UFC 222 when he was originally expected to face Holloway for the belt, only for the champ to withdraw. Edgar would go on to lose at the event to Brian Ortega, ceding his title shot in the process.

Edgar believes that favor, combined with a legendary body of work built up over 12 years in the octagon, made him the right selection at this time.

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“I think all of it combined – my body of work, what I’ve done in the past, what I’ve done for the UFC, opportunities that I could’ve waited for, I didn’t – I stepped in and fought,” Edgar said. “I think a combination of all that stuff led me to get my title shot.

“I’ve been doing the right things in this sport since Day One and never shied away from a challenge or never shied away from an opponent, so I feel like this was definitely meant to be.”

Of course, Alexander Volkanovski (20-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) also felt after his UFC 237 win over former champion Jose Aldo that his title shot was meant to be, as well. The Australian has a strong case, with a perfect 7-0 mark in the UFC and an incredible 17-fight winning streak, overall.

But Edgar believes Volkanovski shouldn’t fret. With injuries forcing Edgar to the sidelines for the past year, he’s looking to stay busy for the remainder of 2019. If he’s victorious at UFC, Edgar said he wouldn’t mind traveling to hostile territory for a rumored Australia event in October to face Volkanovski, or to welcome “The Great” to New York’s famed Madison Square Garden if the promotion visits the Empire State again in November, as it has for each of the past three years.

“I want to fight more than once this year,” Edgar said. “My plan is to win in July and get one more in. If it works out with that fight (in Australia) or possibly the Garden – I know they’re usually at the Garden in November – we’ll see what happens.

“I’ve been booed and been cheered. Either way, I’m still giving it my all.”

First, of course, Edgar has a stern challenge in Holloway. While “Blessed” came up short in an April bid for an interim lightweight belt against Dustin Poirier, Edgar said he still sees an incredibly formidable foe and believes that the change in weight class certainly didn’t help Holloway in the contest.

“I think the weight did matter,” Edgar said. “Max is able to push guys back easily at ’45. His pressure, his pace, is a little bit better at ’45. Dustin’s a good fighter, too, so nothing against Dustin.

“Holloway and Dustin, they’re both great fighters. They both put on a great performance, but 10 pounds can make a difference.”

Of course, Edgar is a great fighter, as well. A certain UFC Hall of Famer when he calls it a career, the 37-year-old Edgar is looking to wear gold again for the first time since 2011. There have been hurdles on his way back to this point, but Edgar isn’t thinking about any of that right now.

UFC 240 calls, and right now, nothing else matters.

“I’m good,” Edgar said. “I got my shot. I’m not one to kind of go back and worry about past things that happened. It doesn’t matter now. We got what we wanted, and we’re going to make the best of it.”

For more on UFC 240, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMA Junkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio. You can also check out www.siriusxm.com/siriusxmfightnation.

Watch MMA Junkie Radio here (8 p.m. ET) with Frankie Edgar, Damon Jackson

MMA Junkie Radio kicks off tonight at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) with special guests Frankie Edgar and Damon Jackson.

Edgar, the former UFC lightweight champion, will talk about his attempt to become featherweight titleholder when he challenges Max Holloway in the main event of UFC 240. Jackson will discuss his upcoming fight at PFL 2019, Week 2.

MMA Junkie Radio airs from 8 to 10 p.m. ET (5-7 p.m. PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch and listen live above or on MMA Junkie’s YouTube page. Additionally, SiriusXM Fight Nation (Ch. 156) airs the show live, or you can catch an on-demand replay on the SiriusXM app.

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Daily Debate results: Was Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar the right fight to make?

Frankie Edgar is unquestionably a future UFC Hall of Famer, but is he the current top contender in the featherweight division?

It’s an interesting question. After all, Edgar (23-6-1 MMA, 17-6-1 UFC) is a former champion and one of the most respected athletes in the history of the sport. And perhaps most importantly, he had a title shot lined up against champ Max Holloway (20-4 MMA, 16-4 UFC) one year ago but agreed to put the opportunity aside to face then-undefeated Brian Ortega at UFC 222 in a clash the promotion needed to help save that March 2018 event when “Blessed” was forced off the card.

Edgar lost that fight, and Ortega went on to face Holloway. “The Answer” then rebounded with a decision win over Cub Swanson.

In the meantime, Alexander Volkanovski (20-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) has been making quite the case that he’s the rightful No. 1 contender.

Since Edgar was last in action, Alexander “The Great” has picked up wins over the gritty Darren Elkins, perennial contender Chad Mendes and perhaps the greatest featherweight of all-time, Jose Aldo. Yet just a few days after Volkanovski’s latest win, UFC officials their plans for Holloway vs. Edgar. Was that the right decision?

That was the question we asked in our latest MMA Junkie Radio Daily Debate.

The results, via Twitter:

To hear the MMA Junkie Radio crew weigh in on the topic, watch the video above.

For the latest on UFC 240, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMA Junkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio. You can also check out www.siriusxm.com/siriusxmfightnation.