Frankie Edgar views Cory Sandhagen as opportunity to climb bantamweight rankings quickly

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Frankie Edgar will be introduced to the bantamweight division by a hungry rising contender.

Edgar is set to fight Cory Sandhagen on Jan. 25 at UFC Raleigh, and he sees the matchup against a top-ranked contender as a good opportunity for a fast climb up the division.

“He’s very dangerous. He’s No. 3 (in the official UFC rankings), and I still want to fight the best guys in my career, and I feel like fighting No. 3 is a good way to debut at this new weight class,” Edgar said in the latest episode of “UFC Unfiltered”.

While many are viewing the matchup as a prospect vs. veteran fight and a way for Sandhagen (12-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) to build his name, Edgar (23-7-1 MMA, 17-7-1 UFC) believes he also has a lot to gain.

“For a guy like Cory to come in and fight someone like myself is definitely good for him, but to me I’m looking at it (like) he’s No. 3, and it’s definitely a good way to get myself on a ladder in the 135-pound division,” Edgar said.

For years, Edgar has been pestered by those around him to make the move down to 135 pounds. Always undersized, the former UFC lightweight champion decided that he might as well oblige, considering that he has fallen short on numerous occasions in pursuit of the featherweight title.

“I don’t know, man. Everyone’s been telling for years to go down,” Edgar said. “My coaches were telling me for a while, and I fought for the ’45-pound belt a couple times, came up short. I felt like now’s the time if I’m going to do it ever.”

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However, Edgar’s introduction to bantamweight will be against a 5-foot-11 and long Sandhagen, which once again would put Edgar at a sizable height and reach disadvantage.

Edgar doesn’t expect the transition to be that easy, but hopes that in some matchups down the line, he won’t be as undersized.

“Hopefully you don’t fight guys as long and tall. This guy I’m fighting is just as tall, so it don’t matter, but maybe I can be the bigger guy,” Edgar said. “Although I don’t think I’ll be the biggest guy at bantamweight, but I’m not going to be giving up as much size as say, 145, but I mean you got to take into consideration the guys are going to be quicker down at bantamweight, as well. So it doesn’t mean it’s going to be smooth sailing 100 percent. Of course, each weight class has their own challenges.”

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