April 19, 2018

UFC Fight Night 128: Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson Are Both In Must-Win Situations At UFC Atlantic City

By Adam Martin

The co-main event of this Saturday night's UFC Fight Night 128 event, which takes place at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, features two featherweight fighters in must-win situations. With both men coming off of stoppage losses to current #1 contender Brian Ortega, both Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson need a win to stay relevant in the title picture at 145 lbs. However, only one can get it.

Let's start with Edgar's situation. The former UFC Lightweight Champion and multiple-time featherweight title challenger was just brutally knocked out by Ortega a few weeks ago at UFC 222.

It was by far the worst loss of Edgar's career in a fight he was expected to win, and the bitter taste of defeat apparently can't get off his tongue, as he decided to take this fight on short notice despite what we know about fighters who come back too soon from head injuries. According to Edgar, he didn't suffer a concussion in that fight, but considering he was lifted off the feet by an Ortega uppercut, I find that hard to believe. Even his manager Ali Abdel-Aziz had concerns about him taking this fight with Swanson, but clearly Edgar wants to prove to everyone that the Ortega fight was just a bad night, and that "The Answer" remains one of the top fighters in his weight class. A big win over Swanson in the pair's rematch -- Edgar won the first fight in dominant fashion back in 2014 -- would do just that.

Swanson's situation is somewhat similar in that he also lost to Ortega, though he was choked out, not knocked out. He was also more competitive with Ortega than Edgar ended up being. That being said, his win streak was snapped by that defeat, and it sent Swanson into free agency coming off of a loss. As exciting of a fighter as Swanson is, it's never good when a fighter goes into free agency off of a defeat as it means a lot less leverage for that fighter. Fortunately for Swanson, his past resume speaks for itself, and he was offered multiple deals on the free agent market before deciding to re-sign with the UFC. I think it speaks volumes about Swanson's desire to finally get a crack at the UFC title, and hopefully one day hold it. This is a guy who has been in the UFC since 2011 and has never gotten a title shot despite being a top-10 featherweight the entire time he's been in the UFC. He's just always lost the big one when he's stepped up in competition. So, like Edgar, Swanson wants to get back on the horse, and a win over Edgar would certainly put him right back up at the top in regards to a featherweight title shot.

Though the first fight between Edgar and Swanson was a complete blowout, this rematch should be interesting. The fact that Edgar was just knocked out so recently makes it a more intriguing fight, as his chin is not what it once was, and Swanson obviously has the knockout power to catch him and put his lights out once again. At the same time, we've seen Swanson's grappling weaknesses, and that's a big problem with him game, so Edgar will look to take advantage of that once again, just as he did in the pair's first encounter when he won via neck crank with just seconds to go in the bout. With both guys having a clear path to victory, it makes for an interesting rematch. That being said, I wish the UFC could have given Edgar a few more months off, but with UFC Atlantic City needing a co-main event, that wasn't possible. Both Edgar and Swanson are in must-win situations on Saturday night, but only one man can win and stay relevant in the 145-pound title picture; the other will have a long road ahead. We'll find out this weekend where each fighter fits in the division.






UFC Fight Night 128: Barboza vs. Lee takes place April 21, 2018 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.


Click HERE for more UFC Fight Night 128 Pre-Fight Analysis


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