Having lost twice to current UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, Edgar could be facing a rocky road back to a title shot, but he certainly showed that he was worthy in his performance against Rodriguez, who is one of the hottest up-and-coming talents in the UFC.
In the opening round, Edgar patiently avoided Rodriguez’s kicks until he could throw a few punches and find an opening for the takedown, which he eventually did. For the final three-and-a-half minutes of the round, Edgar swarmed Rodriguez with a brutal ground-and-pound attack from inside full guard.
Edgar threw several punches, stood up in guard and then dropped punches from there. He moved back to his knees and dropped an assortment of elbows, hammerfists, and punches. He continued the formula through the remainder of the round, leaving Rodriguez’s left eye nearly swollen shut after the first stanza.
Edgar went back to the same formula in round two, scooping Rodriguez into the air and planting him on the mat. This time, however, Rodriguez locked on to Edgar’s leg, where he tried for a time to attack with a kneebar or perhaps he was trying to find position for a heel hook, but Edgar remained patient and escaped, briefly taking mount.
Rodriguez turned out of mount, but Edgar maintained control and worked back into Rodriguez’s guard, where he continued the same ground and pound attack that he started in round one, only this time he dropped even more elbows, continuing to add damage to Rodriguez’s left eye.
After two Edgar-dominated rounds, the referee called a halt to the fight in between the second and third rounds, saving Rodriguez from any further damage.
“I have to send a heartfelt message out to my teammate Nick Catone (and his wife, who lost a child on Friday). I just want to go home and hug my kids,” Edgar said after the fight, tears welling in his eyes.
Octagon interviewer Joe Rogan then shifted the conversation to what is next for Edgar, who at least remains in the thick of title talk, although he knows getting a third fight with Aldo may not be at the top of the UFC’s matchmaking list.
Aldo next steps into the Octagon with Max Holloway at UFC 212 on June 3 in Rio. Edgar would like nothing more than to fight the winner.
“(Aldo vs. Holloway) is a great match-up. I want the winner. I don’t know if they’ll let me an Aldo go a third time, but that’s what I want.”