"If I was healthy and even half-assed training, I would have taken that fight," directed Frankie Edgar on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani.
Edgar was one of the first fighters to be offered the chance to face Conor McGregor when lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos withdrew from the UFC 196 title fight.
When dos Anjos pulled out last Tuesday, Edgar's manager Ali Abdel-Aziz received a message.
It was in a text. It said 'Would Frankie take the fight at '55?'
However, Edgar was injured and still just midway through recovering from a groin injury.
I think about four weeks ago I tore my abductor tendon in my groin. I've been having some issues in that area for a while. I actually had two epidurals for it but that was just for overuse and inflammation in the area. This time, something actually tore, it popped. I've been nursing that for the last month.
The time taken to rehabilitate from the injury is something which has frustrated Edgar.
The first week, I was having a hard time sitting on the toilet. But it got better and I like to stay doing something. I have to stay doing something because I'll go crazy. I'm just doing what I can. Obviously, I can't roll, I can't wrestle, I can't spar. I can hit mitts a little bit and I've been lifting weights. I'm just doing what I can do to keep somewhat in shape.
To be honest, I'm kind of surprised by how long this is keeping me out. Most of my injuries in the past have been overuse injuries, bulged disc, nerve pain. This is actually something that actually happened, where it popped. I thought I'd be well more ahead than where I am now, because again, I don't like to be stagnant too long. So I thought I'd be back training a little more than I am, but you know, that's the way that it goes.
When announcing, on ESPN's Sportscenter, that McGregor would face Nate Diaz on March 5th, UFC president Dana White said that Edgar had turned down the fight, failing to mention the groin injury.
It was something which really antagonised the 34-year-old.
I'm sitting here recovering from an injury and people are looking down at me for not taking a fight at ten days' notice for a weight class I'm not even in for not even the title.
That's kind of what got under my skin.
Edgar has real belief that he can defeat McGregor. So missing the opportunity to take him on this weekend is certainly frustrating.
I was upset. I've been waiting for this opportunity and here it comes and I just can't take it. Like I said, it's been an uphill battle trying to get this opportunity. More importantly, I wanted to fight for the title but getting to fight Conor would have been second best.
Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE