It’s easy to get hyped up about two icons in the UFC going at it for a second time. In this case, Frankie Edgar’s necessity to erase his last loss to Brian Ortega prompted a quick turnaround. But is Frankie Edgar making the right choice by fighting, or will he suffer the same fate as Michael Bisping did when he faced Kelvin Gastelum in Shanghai?
Matter of circumstance
When you hear the UFC is putting on a show in New Jersey, Frankie Edgar is the first name that should appear on that card. With the UFC 222 title fight already booked, it seemed as though Edgar would be tied up. The decision for Edgar to continue the show after Holloway suffered an injury was commendable. That mindset of ‘anyone, anytime’ gave Edgar a lot of credit, but the decision ultimately proved fatal as the subsequent loss cost him his guaranteed title shot.
Edgar’s first time being finished in his career was not an easy pill to swallow. An elite fighter who’s prided himself on his technical prowess, toughness, and ability to dig deep, Edgar took it on the chin as he came to terms with the result. The following weeks have been busy for “The Answer” regardless. As his latest fight against Cub Swanson was announced, many fight fans were delighted to see Toms River’s finest back in action.
The return to familiar soil is always enticing, but is the booking too soon for Edgar? The fight takes place just three days after his medical suspension expires. Edgar was also ruled to have no contact until April 3, giving him just two weeks of full contact training. Cub Swanson can never be taken lightly as he is also looking to redeem himself after losing in his last outing, as well.
Big risk, big reward?
With both fighters taking a loss to the new #1 contender, the chances of either Edgar or Swanson getting an immediate title shot are slim if Ortega finds his way to the belt. This is another factor that makes this fight that much more of a must-win. But regardless of victor, there’s no guarantee on the top spot. With Jeremy Stephens and Jose Aldo lurking in the rankings, the options for the next title contender are wide open.
Edgar and Swanson both know that nothing is guaranteed in this business. There are many arguments to be made that this booking does neither fighter a favor, but the willingness to go to war on both ends is always appreciated by the MMA faithful. In Edgar’s case, there is worry that his willingness to put it all on the line may cost him yet again.
Jumping back on the horse so soon after a loss is admirable, but in the case of Michael Bisping last year, that decision making cost him dearly. His loss to GSP at the beginning of November was hard to accept. Reeling from the disappointment, Bisping stepped in at the last hour to save the UFC’s event in Shanghai. His valor in saving the card was not rewarded in a victory as Gastelum starched him in the first.
Do or die
For both fighters, this matchup is an all-or-nothing affair. In their last outing, Edgar was able to get the better of Swanson in the fifth round with a neck crank. This time, the extraneous factors are all in Swanson’s favor as he looks to pounce on his title opportunity. Even though Edgar was victorious last time, Swanson had glimpses of danger that made Edgar stay on high alert. Heading into Atlantic City, those striking advantages will only be exemplified.
The one critique for Swanson has always been his inability to show up for ‘the big one’. In contrast, Edgar has always shown up when his back is against the wall. In his 27 fight career, Edgar has only lost two in a row once in 2012. While a quick turnaround is never an indictment to losing, the timing of this match-up is not ideal for the caliber of opponent.
Frankie Edgar is the pinnacle of toughness, but this matchmaking so soon after his vicious knockout loss may be too much to handle. A rematch of legendary proportions becomes slightly tainted with the factors of doubt regarding Edgar’s ability to take a hit. With the clock ticking on Edgar’s homecoming, will he once again defy the odds to come out with a victory? Or will Cub Swanson put the pieces together to solidify his place as a top-flight featherweight?
English Student at Rollins College with a passion for all things combat sports. Mixed martial arts isn't just entertainment; it's an art form.