Every fighter at some point in their career will have their chin tested and almost every single fighter will have that chin go out one day, ultimately leading to a knockout. This was the case back at UFC 222 when Frankie Edgar took on rising featherweight contender, Brian Ortega.
Ortega filled in on short notice to face Edgar at 222 when featherweight champion Max Holloway had to withdraw due to an ankle injury. Edgar certainly could’ve waited until Holloway was healthy and got the title shot he has long waited for in the featherweight division, but that’s not the fighter he is. After having to withdraw from his first scheduled matchup at UFC 218 against Holloway, Edgar stated he had to get back in and fight because it had been so long, even after Holloway withdrew.
The decision shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has followed Edgar throughout his career, as the former lightweight champion has proven time and time again that he will leave everything he has inside the Octagon. However as he steps back into the cage to fight Cub Swanson at UFC Fight Night 128, there has been many questions and criticisms on the quick turnaround for Edgar.
The questions are certainly fair: Is it too soon? Is Frankie Edgar too tough for his own good? Is it even safe for him to return this quickly? While the answer to those questions are certainly up for discussion, there should be little reason to doubt Edgar himself.
Of course, every fighter will say they aren’t hurt and that it’s never too soon to get back into the cage, but maybe in this case it’s okay to believe so. Edgar has been in wars throughout his career and has gone a full 25-minutes eight times in his career, including the classic battles he had with Gray Maynard. His loss to Ortega was the first time he had been finished in his career, and if he’s passed all the tests leading up to this fight, why criticize his decision?
There are very few fighters in the sport like Edgar and for that reason alone, we should appreciate the remaining time he has left in the sport. Looking to bounce back from the loss to Ortega, with the fight taking place in his backyard in Atlantic City, New Jersey, against another veteran in Swanson, has all the makings to give us another Frankie Edgar classic on Saturday night.
With all of this also comes the fact that Edgar has one of the best coaches in MMA in Mark Henry, and while Edgar is as tough as they come, Henry is as smart as they come and there is no reason to believe that he would send his fighter out there if he wasn’t ready. If anything, Henry being Edgar’s coach should be another reason to have confidence that the timing is just right for his return.
When Frankie Edgar steps back into the Octagon to face Cub Swanson in a rematch this Saturday, let’s not criticize or wonder if the timing is wrong, because if there’s any questions as to which fighter could pull this off, the answer is, Frankie Edgar.
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews while also hosting his “On The Mic” podcast and is a former Associate Producer at Sirius XM’s Fight Nation.
With a special passion for interviewing and talking to the very best around the fight game, you can read or listen to Mike’s work across his multiple outlets.
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