On the Ultimate Fighter Finale that is happening today in Las Vegas, former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar is going to be standing in front of Chad Mendes, the man who hasn’t lost in a fight where a belt wasn’t on the line (‘real’ or interim) since his mixed martial arts career began.

Edgar has been working his way back to get any shiny gold belt wrapped around his waist ever since losing his lightweight championship title to Benson Henderson. He got the rematch against Henderson and lost; afterwards, he dropped a weight class to face Jose Aldo but ended up losing to the undisputed featherweight champion, too. Edgar has, since that loss, won four straight at featherweight.

This contest could, or even should, show who is the next guy in line for the winner of Aldo Vs. McGregor. They are undoubtedly the best guys in that division who are not wearing any kind of strap at the moment. But there is an issue.

Mendes has fought for the title twice in the past year and a half, and he is dangerously close to being in that ‘Urijah Faber-category,’ where it is really hard to give you another title fight opportunity based solely on your record. And Frankie? He did just win over Mendes’ Alpha Male teammate Faber in a contest at 145 pounds, where everyone was expecting an entertaining fight (which did not happen), and it ended up costing Edgar some steam.

This, on paper, is undoubtedly a contender fight, but both of these men need to pull out all the stops to convince everyone watching that whomever comes out victorious, you want to see getting another shot at the title.

There is another man just behind these guys in the ranking who, if this fight don’t live up to the hype, might rise to the occasion and present himself as a ‘fresh face’ in the title picture. The Hawaiian native and self proclaimed ‘blessed’ fighter, Max Holloway. He, in turn, needs to first get a win over the super aggressive, knockout machine, Jeremy “lil’ Heathen” Stephens on UFC 194. And that’s no easy task.

An impressive seven fight win-streak is already there for Hollaway, eight if he wins on Saturday. If he does it in spectacular fashion, he might steal the spot from underneath the guys ranked higher than him. Because in this sport, for better or worse, hype sometimes trumps merits.

On Monday, after the biggest fight weekend of 2015 is over, we will either have a clear title challenger in line out of the Edgar vs. Mendes fight, or if it doesn’t deliver, the unstoppable and ‘blessed’ Holloway could possibly emerge.

This is mixed martial arts, and anything can happen. The outcome of this mini featherweight tournament is the first step, the title fight second, in getting a clearer picture of what to expect next.

About The Author

Christian Larusson
Staff Writer

Christian Larusson is a passionate Mixed Martial Arts fan. With experience in writing for Swedish MMA sites, he now solely writes in English through blogging, PunchDrunkSports and The MMA Corner. Got his heart broken early in his life when a friend, ‘Judas’, told him that WWE/WWF wasn’t real. Then one day, he saw MMA on a friend's computer, he was overwhelmed with emotions from what his eyes had just seen. He´s been in love ever since. Christian has been published in different Swedish papers and books, nothing to do with MMA though, so who gives a shh-.