A contender in three different UFC divisions over a memorable 17-year pro career, former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar was recognized Saturday by being announced as the first member of the 2024 class of the UFC Hall of Fame.
Edgar (24-11-1), who retired from the Octagon for good in late 2022, was in attendance at UFC 297 in Toronto when the news was broken by broadcaster Jon Anik during the broadcast. The 42-year-old native of Toms River, New Jersey, will officially enter the “Modern Wing” of the Hall of Fame during the UFC’s annual induction ceremony this summer in Las Vegas.
“Frankie Edgar is one of the greatest athletes in UFC history,” UFC CEO Dana White said in a statement. “Frankie had an amazing career and consistently fought the best athletes in the world across multiple weight classes for more than 15 years. He is a legend, and it will be an honor to induct him into the UFC Hall of Fame as part of International Fight Week this summer.”
UFC defines the “Modern Era” category as including athletes who turned pro on or after Nov. 17, 2000, when the first UFC event under the unified rules of MMA was held. Fighters must be at least 35, or have been retired for one year or more.
Edgar’s crowning moment came at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi in 2010 when he scored the first of three victories over fellow future Hall of Famer BJ Penn to capture the lightweight title. Although Edgar would lose the title in his fourth defense against Benson Henderson in 2012, “The Answer” went on to redefine his legacy by twice moving down in weight yet remaining an elite title contender into his late 30s.
Along with his trilogy against Penn, Edgar scored memorable wins against a litany of top names including Urijah Faber, Charles Oliveira, Sean Sherk, Yair Rodriguez, Cub Swanson and Hermes Franca. But most long-time fight fans would point to his all-action trilogy against Gray Maynard, where Edgar went 1-1-1, as the best representation of Edgar’s true fighting spirit.
Edgar’s rematch with Maynard at UFC 125, which ended in a split draw to earn fight of the year honors in 2011, saw the 5-foot-6 spark plug rise from a series of devastating knockdowns in Round 1 only to rally behind his trademark chin and resiliency.
Throughout 30 trips to the Octagon, Edgar upheld his reputation as a fan-friendly fighter by taking home 11 post-fight bonuses. Yet, it was Edgar’s longevity and consistency that went on to fuel his legacy as a diminutive force who overcame any questions his critics had about size or age along the way.
No stranger to the UFC record book, Edgar currently ranks second in total Octagon time (7:57:10) and tied for second in Fight of the Night bonuses (8). He also ranks third in most significant strikes (1,801) and sixth in both takedowns landed (73) and championship fight time (3:38:54).
Edgar also holds the best significant defense in lightweight history (71.8%) and was one of the first UFC fighters to bring elite boxing skills and head movement into the Octagon.
A former NCAA Division I National qualifier in collegiate wrestling at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Edgar still resides in his hometown with his wife, Renee, and three children.