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Frankie Edgar is UFC's Mr. Reliable

Frankie Edgar is UFC's Mr. Reliable
Frankie Edgar, left, punches Charles Oliveira during their featherweight fight at UFC 162 in Las Vegas on July 6, 2013. (David Becker / Associated Press)

The employee who accepts his assignments and performs them with strength, dignity and grace helps lift companies to their intended goals.

So, by that measure, Frankie Edgar can be considered Mr. UFC.

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The former Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight champion is scheduled to appear in the octagon for the 19th time in the last nine years Friday night.

The 34-year-old Edgar (18-4-1) meets Sacramento's Chad Mendes (17-3) in a featherweight fight expected to lead the winner to a 2016 showdown against the winner of Saturday night's UFC 194 main event between featherweight champion Jose Aldo and a charismatic challenger, Ireland's Conor McGregor.

The Edgar-Mendes fight is to be televised by Fox Sports 1 at 7 p.m. PST from the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas.

"It goes with my work ethic, the type of person I am," Edgar said of his company man persona. "I'm a blue-collar family guy."

Other than a back injury in 2011, Edgar, a Toms River, N.J, father of three children age 6 and younger, hasn't missed any time and has fought at least twice a year for the UFC in each of the last nine years.

He became lightweight champion in 2010 by defeating UFC legend B.J. Penn, lost the belt to Benson Henderson in 2012 and also took Aldo to the judges in a 2013 defeat.

"I've had quite a few epidurals to stay in it, but nothing too bad," Edgar said of the pain-relieving injections. "They're useful. They don't feel too good going in, but they make me feel better. Sometimes, it's for my back or my neck and now my groin, sort of a sports hernia thing.

"Get through the inflammation and I'm back to it."

He now stands as the UFC's second-ranked featherweight, passed by the vocal ascent of McGregor.

Though others might have been chafed by McGregor's rise without a head-to-head meeting, Edgar stayed mum and took the lesser main event.

"That's the nature of this game," Edgar said. "I do feel I got overstepped, or whatnot, but it is an entertainment business and he does a good job of promoting himself, putting himself in headlines. And he backs it up in the octagon."

McGregor defeated Mendes by a second-round technical knockout in July.

"I've just got to keep doing what I do and making sure that [title contender] is me next time," Edgar said.

"I'm a working-class guy. I'm not going to sit there and complain. What's that really going to get me? I need to keep my head down, go to work and make it happen, like I've been doing since day one of my career. I don't feel like anyone's handed me anything, or that I've had any breaks.

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"I've done it the hard way, and I'm OK with that."

Mendes, in this case, has a full camp after accepting the McGregor fight on short notice, then gassing out after trying to submit McGregor earlier in the second round.

"Chad is probably behind Aldo as No. 2 in 145. He looked pretty phenomenal against McGregor until the end," Edgar said. "A win over him will solidify me as the No. 1 contender.

"We match up well ... have a wrestling background, both like to stand on our feet. He's more of a power puncher. I'm more of a volume puncher. Definitely an interesting fight."

Edgar said his intelligence, pace and pressure are the main assets he hopes to call on to win.

Edgar-Mendes will headline a card that will include the finale of the UFC's reality television series, "The Ultimate Fighter." The co-main event to Aldo-McGregor is the middleweight title fight between champion Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold.

"This is what they presented to me and I said yes," Edgar said. "I don't say no to them very often."

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