Just when Conor McGregor was grabbing all the headlines in the UFC’s featherweight division, Frankie Edgar resurfaced as an equally worthy title challenger to Jose Aldo’s strap.
The former UFC lightweight champion put on an impressive display of wrestling skills to offset the power punching of #2 contender Cub Swanson in the five round non-title main event of UFC Fight Night 57 on Saturday night at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
Edgar, who came to the fight as the UFC’s #3 ranked featherweight contender, took Swanson down a total of seven times including the final one that led to the rear naked choke submission with four seconds left in the bout. Swanson entered the bout on an impressive six fight winning streak and was reportedly promised a title shot if he beat Edgar. Instead, Swanson got dominated on the mat with Edgar scoring at least one takedown in every round of the fight.
Takedowns Were The Story
Edgar’s takedowns and groundwork were the story of this fight. The first round turned out to be the only competitive round of the fight as Swanson was able to connect on his trademark boxing combinations. Swanson was able to defend Edgar’s early takedown attempts and he even sent Edgar backing up with powerful blows. But Edgar caught an overly aggressive Swanson and took him down briefly before the round was over.
After two of the three judges gave the first round to Swanson, it was all Frankie Edgar. Edgar took Swanson down in the opening minute of rounds two to four, pinning him to the canvass for most of those rounds. Edgar’s ground and pound was impressive as he opened cuts on the sides of Swanson’s eyes. As the fight went on, Swanson got desperate and tried to land homerun punches in the opening moments of each round. But Edgar always had the answer- the takedown. The finish came late in the fifth when Swanson surrendered his back after Edgar took full mount. Edgar dropped his right hand under Swanson’s chin and went for the choke.
Not Just a Gate Keeper
While Edgar has always been one of the elite fighters in the lightweight and featherweight division, he has labeled as a perennial gatekeeper. But on Saturday night, Edgar proved that he is better and that he deserves another shot at Jose Aldo.
After losing two title bouts to Benson Henderson at lightweight, Edgar moved down to featherweight in 2013 to challenge Aldo for the featherweight belt. Edgar lost that bout by decision, but he’s now won three straight bouts including two by stoppage. After the fight, Edgar said that the victory should serve as a warning to all the people who doubted him.
Irish superstar Conor McGregor takes on Denis Siver on January 18 and many experts are saying that he gets the title shot if he beats Siver. But it’s hard to deny Edgar his own title shot with this impressive performance over the UFC’s number 2 ranked featherweight contender.