Despite defeating him nearly two years prior, Gray Maynard never complained once when Dana White passed him over to award Frankie Edgar a title shot against BJ Penn. But now that Edgar is the new lightweight champion, you guessed it, Gray Maynard wants his shot.
“I texted Joe Silva and told him I want the [title] fight,” said Maynard. “I will fight whoever they want me to, but they know I want to fight for the belt.”
“They announced Edgar as the guy like a day after my fight with Diaz, so it’s not like I had a lot of time to say anything,” said Maynard. “Sure, I talked to Dana [White] after the Diaz fight and he knows I want to fight for the belt — that’s what everyone wants to do — but I trust them and hopefully now I will get a shot at my dream.”
If Maynard’s wish is granted, it doesn’t sound like his strategy would change too much from their first bout. The key is neutralizing Edgar’s speed with his size, strength and wrestling ability.
“You have to bully him,” said Maynard, detailing the strategy he employed in their 2008 bout. “He is fast and you can’t let him move around like he did against Penn. You have to hit him with some punches, then get your hands on him and push him up against the cage and make him fight your fight.”
I’ve seen many calling for Kenny Florian to get first crack at Frankie Edgar, but it’s hard to deny that Gray Maynard doesn’t deserve it more. Since his bizarre self-imposed knockout against Robert Emerson at the TUF 5 finale, Maynard has recorded seven straight victories in the Octagon against some of the best lightweights in the UFC, plus he has a win over the champ. I’d prefer to see Maynard get his shot while Florian gets another crack at Penn in a number one contender’s match. After Florian recovers from a nasty case of the devilish staph infection of course.
What do you think? How do you think the UFC’s lightweight division should play out?
Image via Sherdog
Update: Or would you rather see BJ Penn get an immediate rematch since it was so close? Penn’s trainer Rudy Valentino says that’s what Team Penn wants.
We are now just waiting for Dana to give us the call for Frankie Edgar again…Straight to the rematch. I was talking to BJ and we are looking for a straight automatic rematch. We don’t know when but we’d like it in Hawaii.
Valentino believes he has good reason why the rematch would go differently too. You may have noticed Penn looked a little off, at step behind and not as lean as he did in previous title fights. Valentino says that’s because Penn was battling a bad sinus infection and fever that forced him out of training for a two-week period before the fight.
He was also battling a sinus infection and was on antibiotics, so he was not one hundred percent. I’m not making any excuses, that is just what happened. I didn’t see him lose that fight but I did see him lose the last round…Going into the 5th round I told BJ that he had to win this round to win the fight. But sometimes things don’t go the right way. Being on antibiotics and struggling to get better from being sick and having a fever over the course of two weeks, these were some of the factors that slowed him down. That wasn’t the BJ Penn that we had in camp for three months going through sparring partners the way he did. We never took Frankie Edgar like he wasn’t a world contender. We took him very serious. We knew he could do damage to BJ in stand up and with takedowns. We were working BJ Penn wasn’t 100 percent, what you saw in the fight was him battling being sick. He didn’t want to call Dana three weeks before the fight and cancel because he was sick. BJ being the champion that he is just went in there and fought…We had the Marinoviches come over. We had the camp the exactly how we did the previous two fights. When he gets sick, some people recover quickly but it took awhile, a couple weeks to recover. He wasn’t able to train for a couple weeks so that makes it tougher. But people react differently to that type of stuff. But BJ trained the way he needed to prepare and worked just as hard on his conditioning as he did for the last couple of fights.
You know, unlike the Machida-Shogun fight, I think the guy who deserved to win, won. So I’m not going to clamor for the immediate rematch like I did with Shogun, though I can understand why Penn wants it. I have no problem with him being one win away from a title shot though. I think that’s fair given the circumstances.