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Despite a pair of disappointing losses to current UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson, former titleholder Frankie Edgar (14-3-1 MMA, 9-3-1 UFC) will now get his shot at history.
USA TODAY Sports and MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) have learned that an undisclosed injury has forced Erik Koch (13-1, 2-0) to withdraw from a planned UFC 153 title fight with current featherweight champion Jose Aldo (21-1, 3-0), and Edgar has agreed to step into the evening's main event.
Edgar now looks to join UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture and Hawaiian superstar B.J. Penn as the only men to hold UFC championships in two different weight classes.
Now dubbed "UFC 153: Aldo vs. Edgar," the event takes place Oct. 13 at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro. The evening's five-fight main card airs on pay-per-view.
On the heels of this weekend's canceled UFC 151 event, UFC President Dana White admitted he was disappointed to learn of Koch's injury. However, one call to Edgar quickly resulted in a turn for the better.
"Obviously, we've had a rough couple of weeks here at the UFC, and then sure enough, I walk in to work today, and Erik Koch is hurt," White said. "But Frankie Edgar, being the stud and the warrior that he is, steps up and accepts this fight."
The 5-foot-6 Edgar has long been questioned about a potential move to 145 pounds, but with a pair of wins over Penn and two now-legendary bouts with massive lightweight Gray Maynard, "The Answer" ruled the promotion's lightweight division for nearly two years. However, after Edgar's pair of razor-thin losses to Henderson, White urged the New Jersey native to consider a move to the featherweight division.
Now that Edgar is making the move, White said he can't wait to see this new championship matchup.
"I'm pumped," White said. "I think that people are going to be very excited for this fight.
"Frankie has had a tough go the last couple of times with the judges, but a lot of people think he belongs at 145 pounds. Well, here we go – Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar. People have been wanting to see this fight for a long time."
Meanwhile, Aldo enters UFC 153 with a 14-fight win streak. Since ruling World Extreme Cagefighting's 145-pound division and moving over to the fellow Zuffa-owned UFC as the promotion's first-ever featherweight champion, the Brazilian phenom has scored successful title defenses over Chad Mendes, Kenny Florian and Mark Hominick. Overall, Aldo is a remarkable 11-0 under the Zuffa banner.
A timetable for Koch's return wasn't immediately established.