Frankie Edgar’s return to New Jersey, for the first time in over a decade, is wrought with emotion: the former champ is dealing with both personal loss, and looking to silence critics bellowing ‘too soon!’ after his knockout defeat at UFC 222.
Atlantic City, NJ — Frankie Edgar returns to action on Saturday night, taking on Cub Swanson in a rematch of their 2014 battle. Yet the story doesn’t stop there, as Edgar is coming off a devastating knockout, coping with the loss of his father, and fighting at home for the first time in over a decade. Edgar addressed the media at Thursday’s UFC Atlantic City media day, tackling Swanson’s growth and his homecoming when questioned by Cageside Press.
On how Cub Swanson has developed as a fighter since their first meeting (which Edgar won via a fifth-round submission, back in 2014), the former champ pointed out that “he’s got more experience. With more experience comes certain knowledge that you can’t get any other way than just being in there and doing it.”
“He’s definitely a veteran, I’m a veteran” Edgar addded. “So it’s going to be two crafty guys going at it.”
The subject of Edgar’s return has been a matter of much debate. Just over a month ago, the tough, wily veteran was knocked out by Brian Ortega at UFC 222. It was the first knockout loss of Edgar’s career. Critics have suggested it’s far too soon for the New Jersey native to return to action.
Edgar, however, told Cageside Press that there was no trepidation when he returned to live contact in training. “I felt fine, honestly,” he said. “No one’s going to believe anything I say, so it don’t matter, really. No one’s going to believe me, that I felt fine in the hotel room that night. But I know how I felt.”
Edgar’s homecoming to New Jersey is bittersweet. Not only is he coming back off his first knockout loss, he’s also coping with the recent loss of his father. “It’s your dad, man” he said simply when asked about his father’s influence on his life. He stayed composed on Thursday, however, and addressed his homecoming. It’s the first bout in the state since UFC 78, all the way back in 2007.
“It’s great,” said Edgar of finally coming home. “My family, my friends have been looking for this for a long time. I did fight in the Garden, which is fairly close. But there’s something special about being in my state.”
UFC Atlantic City (UFC Fight Night 128) takes place Saturday at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ. Check out the full scrum from Thursday’s media day with Frankie Edgar in the video above.