Ortega knocked Edgar out in the first round of their key featherweight contender fight at UFC 222 earlier this month in Las Vegas. In his last fight, Ortega fought — and submitted — Swanson at UFC Fresno in December. So, Swanson, who also lost to Edgar in 2014, went in with a good idea of both man’s skill set.
And he truly thought Edgar would get his hand raised.
“I was just baffled,” Swanson told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “I thought Frankie would just take him down and beat him up on the ground and do what he does. But I think [Edgar] feared his grappling a little too much. I think Frankie has good grappling. I was kind of surprised at that and he made it into a striking match. Neither one of them was really fighting their game.”
Coincidentally, Swanson will now meet Edgar in a rematch at UFC Atlantic City on April 21 in New Jersey. Edgar will be fighting only seven weeks after getting knocked out by Ortega. Some have said that might not be a good idea. Swanson himself said he didn’t see the matchup coming until the UFC called about it.
“Yeah, I am surprised,” Swanson said. “But I mean, a lot of times fighters feel like they don’t have a good performance and they just want to get right back in there and make it right. It happens.
“A lot of people would say it’s a mistake. I’ve heard people saying on social media that it is. But I mean, they’re only gonna say that unless he comes out and looks great.”
Swanson (25-8) has not fought since the loss to Ortega. He signed a new contract with the UFC to set up this bout with Edgar. The day before the Ortega loss, Swanson said he took a photo with a man and his sick daughter. And a few hours later, “Killer Cub” wasn’t feeling all that good, either. He believes he caught some kind of bug and even considered pulling out of the main event bout at the 11th hour.
“I felt fine in the fight,” Swanson said. “I wasn’t trying to use that as an excuse. But the whole day, I was really questioning if i was gonna fight. I was like, is it even possible to pull out?”
Swanson, 34, actually did quite well in the fight. He was beating Ortega in the striking — until he got caught with a guillotine submission. Ortega has a vice-like grip and Swanson said the sore throat he was experiencing didn’t help him in the moment.
“He cranked it so hard,” Swanson said. “I didn’t have a voice for maybe a month after the fight. It was still bothering me.”
While Edgar has a quick turnaround after a pretty tough knockout, Swanson knows from experience what kind of fighter the New Jersey native is. The California native certainly won’t underestimate the former UFC lightweight champion and legend of the sport.
“Frankie is Frankie,” Swanson said. “Everybody gets caught. I’m not gonna go in there thinking like that. … He gave me just a straight ass kicking. I owe him one.”