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The Question: Is Frankie Edgar vs. Urijah Faber a Real Superfight

Published by Bleacher Report on Thu, 12 Feb 2015

On Tuesday evening, the mixed martial arts Internet exploded with the news that Frankie Edgar and Urijah Faber would potentially, possibly, probably headline the UFC's first foray into the Philippines.On Wednesday, the promotion made it official(via Thomas Gerbasi of UFC.com):The former UFC lightweight champ and the former WEC featherweight champ will do the five-round thing (at 145 pounds) against each other on May 16 in Manila.But even before the fight was made official, the debate began raging (because MMA fans love nothing more than a debate): Should Edgar vs. Faber be considered a superfight' Arguments were made. People were right. The other people they were arguing with were wrong. On the Internet, there is no gray area: You're either correct, or you are an idiot.Today, Jonathan Snowden and Jeremy BotterMMA's version of Batman and Robinget back together for another episode of "The Question." This time, they discuss whether Edgar vs. Faber can truly be considered a superfight.Jeremy: The thing about this whole superfight debate, Jonathanbesides the fact that it is completely and utterly stupidis that it's a real indicator that our opinions of what constitutes a big fight have totally changed. Five years ago, Georges St-Pierre vs. BJ Penn was a superfight. Anderson Silva vs. St-Pierre would've been a superfight. Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko' Yep. Superfight.If we lived in a magical universe where Edgar was the UFC lightweight champion and Faber was the WEC featherweight champion, it would be a different story. Two champions from different companies and different weight classes' I can get behind calling that a superfight. But today, in 2015' I just cannot assign the same sort of mystique to Faber vs. Edgar.This is not to say it's not a great fight, because it is. It is a fight I've wanted to see for years, and I am thrilled we're finally getting it. But calling it a superfight is either silly, a stretch or both. Superfights are in the main event of PPV events, not on Fox Sports 1.Jonathan: To me, a superfight is one that transcends the sport. It's a bout that gets outsiders talking, that galvanizes a fanbase, that pits the best fighters from two worlds in a match that means everything. It's the kind of fight that brings in big money on pay-per-view. It's the kind of fight fans pine for.Two champions from different promotions or different weight classes are ingredients that make a superfight. A returning legend coming back to challenge a modern champion' Yep, that counts too.In short, it's not the kind of fight that ends up headlining one of the UFC's second-tier shows on Fox Sports 1.Edgar almost single-handedly killed all the interest BJ Penn had built up in the lightweight class during his reign with a series of point-fighting "classics." Faber, despite his reputation as a fan favorite, has never really been much of a box-office draw outside of Sacramento. How could they possibly be involved in a superfight'A superfight drives interest. Edgar vs. Faber, conversely, is a fight UFC can't even count on to headline a show anyone will pay for.This isn't a superfight. But that doesn't mean it isn't a great fight. There's a difference some fans are missing.Jeremy: As noted in the intro, there really is no gray area when it comes to stuff like this. And it applies across the board to mixed martial arts fans. Things are either awesome or they are terrible. People feel like they have to take a dramatic stand on one side of a conversation or the other.This fight is a conversation-starter. It's an interesting style fight. And it certainly means something in the featherweight division. If Edgar beats Faber, he'll be next in line for the winner of Aldo vs. McGregor. If Faber wins and decides to stick around featherweight' We might get an Aldo vs. Faber rematch.So it's an important fight, and an interesting fight, and I think that's enough for me to be interested. It doesn't have to be a superfight. It can exist on its own, and that should be enough for us. But it's not.Jonathan: The problem is the UFC's hyperbolic promotional style. Everything has to be someone's "greatest challenge yet," every opponent was "built to beat the champion." After a while that kind of stuff kills credibility.I think that's what you're seeing here. Look, Edgar vs. Faber isn't some kind of dream match. It's not the "Thrilla in Manilla 2" as Ariel Helwani called it on UFC Tonight. The Thrilla in Manilla was a legendary rematch between two of boxing's biggest icons. This is just two little guys who main event the fights people skip waiting for the next Jon Jones appearance.Calling it a "superfight" just sets up unrealistic expectations. It's a standard fight between two excellent fighters. You don't have to hard sell it. It sells itself.Jeremy: I agree wholeheartedly. I've always trumpeted the notion that, if every fight is the biggest or the best, then nothing is. And that will remain true. We don't know how the UFC will market this fight just yet. We don't know if they'll use the term "superfight," though I have this sinking feeling Joe Rogan will find some way to work it in. And I'm sure Rogan and Dana White will scream about how it's a dream fight when they're trying to get people to tune in to Fox Sports 1.The point is that this does not have to be a superfight. It can just be a really good, fun fight, which it is. From an athletic perspective, it's intriguing and fun and a good example of what kind of matchmaking the UFC is still capable of. But fans have been so conditioned by the UFC's marketing that they're used to overblown reactions and hype.I would much rather see an argument around who will win this fight, and how they will do so, than a debate over whether it is a superfight or not. The simple truth is that it is not a superfight, but it doesn't matter, and it doesn't have to be.
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