Frankie Edgar went out on his shield at UFC 281
Chris Gutierrez knocks out Frankie Edgar in a lightweight bout during the UFC 281 event at Madison Square Garden © Getty Images / Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC
Frankie Edgar’s final career bout didn’t quite go as he hoped as the former UFC lightweight champion suffered a devastating knockout at the hands (or knee, more aptly) of rival Chris Gutierrez during Saturday night’s UFC 281 event at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
New Jersey native Edgar, 41, was fighting for the final time in a 36-fight career which brought him UFC gold but also a reputation as one of the sport’s most durable champions – but recent results have indicated that that his chin isn’t quite as iron as it once was, and that was again evident inside the opening round in the Big Apple when Gutierrez found a home for a flying knee strike which collapsed Edgar backwards to the canvas.
The end came just over two minutes inside the opening round and was Edgar’s fourth knockout loss in his final five fights, and immediately sucked the air out of a fiercely pro-Edgar crowd paying tribute to the Octagon icon in his last battle in the cage.
And while Edgar’s Hall of Fame career ended on a sour note, the battle-hardened veteran made clear that he doesn’t regret even one moment of the near eight hours he spent in the UFC’s cage.
CHRIS GUTIERREZ KNOCKS OUT FRANKIE EDGAR pic.twitter.com/bvLIKf3tIS
— FULL SEND (@fullsend) November 13, 2022
Not the way he wanted to end it, but tonight @FrankieEdgar closes the book on a legendary career inside the Octagon 🙌 #UFC281pic.twitter.com/XDlkQ68mvW
— UFC (@ufc) November 13, 2022
“I love this sport,” Edgar said after regaining consciousness. “I didn’t want to go out like that. This sport’s a b*tch. I got my family here, that’s all that matters. Congrats to Chris. This sport’s not always so forgiving.”
Gutierrez, for his part, improves his career record to an impressive 19-4-2 and makes it eight fights in the UFC since he last experienced defeat.
In his own post-fight comments, he said that his lead-in to the fight had been an extremely testing one.
“It’s just been a rollercoaster,” Gutierrez, whose mother and head coach were both recently diagnosed with cancer, said.
“I come from nothing. Statistically I wasn’t supposed to be here. I’m here now. It’s a dream come true to be here in Madison Square Garden.”
Sad to see @FrankieEdgar go down like that. It’s a tough sport. Enjoy your retirement legend 🙇🏻♂️ #ufc281
— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) November 13, 2022
Frankie, you’re a legend brother. Nothing to hang your head about. I know you have so many successful avenues after this chapter in your life. Long live Iron strong, Frankie Edgar! #UFC281
— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) November 13, 2022
@FrankieEdgar Legend 🥇
— Khamzat Chimaev (@KChimaev) November 13, 2022
A host of fighters, meanwhile, paid tribute to Edgar as he walked away from the Octagon for the final time – with almost all of them using one common word to describe Edgar’s career.
“Sad to see Frankie Edgar go down like that,” wrote another former champion, Rafael Dos Anjos. “It’s a tough sport. Enjoy your retirement legend.”
Bantamweight champ Aljamain Sterling added: “Frankie, you’re a legend brother. Nothing to hang your head about. I know you have so many successful avenues after this chapter in your life. Long live Iron strong, Frankie Edgar!”
Even Khamzat Chimaev couldn’t contain his admiration, with the Chechen-born star writing just one word online: “Legend.”