The road to UFC lightweight featherweight Frankie Edgar’s decision to drop down to 145 pounds may have been a long one but one with a destination that should be equally rewarding. There’s no question Edgar turned in a number of entertaining efforts at 155 pounds and achieved more in a short span than many of his peers will the entire careers.

However, as competitive as the former lightweight champion was, he also absorbed a ton of damage and gave up 15-20 pounds against most of the opponents he faced. At 145 he’ll sacrifice a minimal amount of speed while gaining a bit of power, an even trade-off to be sure, so his performance shouldn’t suffer as a result of the move. He’ll also be fast-tracked to a title-shot instead of be left in the midst of a traffic jam at the top of the lightweight division.

Another bonus, and this one is for fans rather than Edgar himself, are the number of fresh match-ups at featherweight ripe with potential for excitement. Here are a few for consideration:

Already on the Radar

Chad Mendes – A former top contender with power, name value, and a wrestling base easily testing Edgar’s own

Chan Sung Jung – Possibly next in line for a title-shot after his recent surge and a guy who couldn’t turn in a boring fight even if he wanted to

Dustin Poirier – Overmatched, perhaps, but Poirier is a fighter who can never be counted out, has a dynamic skill set, and no doubt grew a lot from his recent loss to Jung

Out of Left Field

Charles Oliveira – Perhaps the best fighter under 23 in MMA, Oliveira has looked excellent since dropping down to 145 and has a unique blend of striking/submissions that would definitely result in a true, but fun-to-watch, test for Edgar

Cub Swanson – Swanson is emerging as a force after consecutive knockouts of George Roop/Ross Pearson and is also a veteran with experience against some of the division’s best as well as a guy who always has an excellent gameplan due to his work with Greg Jackson (NOTE: Swanson/Oliveira are set to face off at UFC 152 meaning one would need to escape the bout relatively unscathed)

Dennis Siver – If Siver gets by Eddie Yagin at UFC 151 he’ll have two straight wins in the division, plus he’s a seasoned competitor with finishing power and also one of the larger 145ers Edgar would encounter

And, of course, there’s always champion Jose Aldo who is likely to be waiting for Edgar with open arms in early 2013 if he gets by Erik Koch as expected and “The Answer” does the same against whoever emerges as his first featherweight foe. Regardless, no matter who Edgar faces in his first fight as a 145er or his second or third, the future is not only bright for the New Jersey native but fans of MMA as well.