The toughness of Frankie Edgar was a question answered long ago in his battles with Gray Maynard, B.J. Penn and Benson Henderson, among others.
So when he got dropped with a head kick by Jeremy Stephens and ate a follow-up knee midway through the second round of their featherweight bout at UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, this fight was far from over.
Edgar found his way back to his feet and kept moving and punching. He landed a solid takedown and twice came close to submitting Stephens via a choke hold. He finished the second round on top of Stephens and landing elbows.
In the third round, Edgar took down Stephens in the first minute. Stephens eventually got the better of the position, had wrist control and tried for an arm lock submission. Edgar fought it off with his New Jersey toughness and MMA talent.
It didn’t hurt that he had the crowd on his side as the Tom’s River, New Jersey, native was fighting in the first UFC show at The Garden. In the final minute, both fighters exchanged some heavy blows.
The judges scored it 30-27, 30-27, 29-28, in favor of Edgar.