The canvas still gleamed fresh with the blood of a legend when Frankie Edgar began thinking ahead at Sunday night's The Ultimate Fighter 19 Finale. Asked by cageside announcer Joe Rogan about his desired next step after a one-sided trouncing of B.J. Penn, the normally reserved Edgar abandoned his shell and gave it to the Las Vegas crowd straight: "I want to fight for the title, or a fight to get me to the title."
Now, a few days removed from the excitement of the weekend, and with Jose Aldo's latest injury delaying a potential title shot until post-October at the earliest, Edgar (17-4-1) has narrowed his crosshairs down to one specific target: Cub Swanson.
According to a report by MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani on UFC Tonight, Edgar desires Swanson to be his next dance partner, as he believes the fight, which would assumedly be a No. 1 contenders bout, makes the most sense considering the state of the featherweight division, which is effectively on hold until Aldo's injury concerns are settled.
Swanson (21-5) is currently the No. 3 ranked UFC featherweight, while Edgar is ranked No. 2, so at least by those metrics, the match-up does indeed make sense.
However the pair's recent résumés paint somewhat a different story, as Swanson has won six fights in a row, the last three of which came against top-10 competition, while Edgar, despite his championship pedigree, has beaten just two unranked opponents since his decision loss to Aldo in early 2013.
Following Swanson's recent electric win over Jeremy Stephens, UFC President Dana White told the promotion's website, "Cub's going to get what he wants, let's just put it that way." And not surprisingly, Swanson more or less echoed White's sentiment when asked about a prospective match-up against Edgar.
"I was told my fight would be for a belt. I don't think he has one of those," Swanson said to Helwani.
"But I wouldn't mind punching him."