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UFC 136's Gray Maynard: Anger over draw will be taken out on champ
HOUSTON – Gray Maynard doesn't have a problem with Frankie Edgar.
But Maynard does have a big problem with the outcome of their most recent fight, which resulted in a draw and Edgar keeping his UFC lightweight title.
A man of few words, Maynard said Saturday's UFC 136 headliner is his chance to right that wrong.
Maynard and Edgar's five-round title fight – which is a third meeting between the fighters – tops the pay-per-view main card of UFC 136, which takes place at Houston's Toyota Center. For Maynard, a fighter who delivered Edgar his only career loss (in 2008) and draw (back in January at UFC 125), a trilogy win could land him an elusive lightweight title.
"He got good in a lot of areas," Maynard told MMAjunkie.com in regards to their second meeting. "He's a tough kid – speed, strength, jiu-jitsu. He felt good."
Maynard (10-0-1 MMA, 8-0-1 UFC), though, thoroughly dominated the first round of the fight. He knocked down Edgar (13-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC) on four occasions, had him badly dazed and stumbling across the canvas, and all three judges awarded him the round via a 10-8 score. But Edgar recovered and battled back, and after a couple close rounds, the judges rendered their verdict: a split draw via 46–48, 48–46 and 47–47 scores.
"Before Jan. 1, it was kind of, 'Eh, let's just get past it,'" Maynard said. "Then the draw happened. I've just been motivated. That's all I care about. I'm pumped to get in there and take care of business.
"He's a good guy, and everyone will tell you he is. He's a nice guy. But I'm more angry at the draw and how I allowed that to happen. I'm pumped to have it again and to prove to everybody I can beat him."
Maynard, though, faults himself for the draw. MMA judging has been under fire for years – and the past year has been especially volatile – but Maynard said he should have left it out of their hands.
"It's always on me," he said. "Judges judge. That's what they call. But for me, I have to make it happen. I have to take the bull by the horns to prove that I'm the man that deserves the belt.
"He's a tough kid. It happens. You learn, and you move on, and you prepare."
Despite a 1-0-1 record over the champ, Maynard enters UFC 136 as a small underdog with the oddsmakers. Each fighter can offer the other little that hasn't been seen before.
But for Maynard, he likes the challenge.
"I've had the edge once, and I thought I had the edge again," he said. "It's all out on the table, and that's great for me. I know he's going to come prepared. I'm going to be prepared. I like those fights. I don't like easy fights. I don't want an easy one."