ATLANTIC CITY — Frankie Edgar hadn’t fought in his home state of New Jersey since 2007.
Back then, he was an unbeaten lightweight making his name in the UFC and leading off a pay-per-view card in just his ninth professional fight.
A generation of fighters have come and gone since, but it was the same Frankie Edgar we’ve always seen in the cage on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 128. The former UFC champion cruised to a win in a rematch with Cub Swanson, winning by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) at Boardwalk Hall.
“This was a dream come true to come here and perform in front of my home state,” Edgar said. “I love you guys.”
With the hometown crowd chanting his name, Edgar looked to apply pressure early, but Swanson remained elusive. Edgar had some success with his leg kicks as Swanson looked to counter. Midway through the round, Edgar was able to send Swanson stumbling into the cage with a punch, but Swanson stayed on his feet and stuffed a takedown attempt. Edgar landed the best shots of the round, causing some bleeding under Swanson’s right eye.
Swanson continued to fight moving backward in the second round as Edgar had success pushing the pace. Edgar was successful finishing his combos with leg kicks, slowing Swanson. Near the end of the round, Swanson was able to stuff an Edgar takedown attempt and counter with some strong punches, but the former champion shook them off without trouble.
Both men exchanged punches in the third, but it was Edgar getting the most of the exchanges. Swanson opened up a bit more, using kicks to the body and head more effectively but was shut down by Edgar, who took the fight to the cage with two minutes remaining. In the closing moments, the pair had some of their best exchanges of the fight, but it was too late for Swanson to make a difference.
“You put your mind to something and you can do it,” Edgar said. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Edgar said he’d like to get back in the title picture and fight the winner of the next featherweight championship fight between Max Holloway and Brian Ortega, set for UFC 226 in July.
“I’d like to fight the winner of those two guys, I know they’re throwing down in July, let’s see what happens.”