ATLANTIC CITY - The Ultimate Fighting Championships is returning to its roots Friday night.
The UFC's card at Revel represents a homecoming of sorts for the organization. Although it's based in Las Vegas, it began to build its reputation as the top-rated mixed martial arts company in Atlantic City 12 years ago, just after brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta bought the UFC and hired Dana White as the president.
The UFC held six shows in Atlantic City from 2000 to 2005 after the New Jersey Athletic Control Board established the unified rules that are now used in all official MMA events.
"I'm so excited to be back in Atlantic City because this is exactly where it all started for us," White said Thursday at Revel's Ovation Hall. "Atlantic City, especially Donald Trump, took a chance on us when no one else even wanted us."
The UFC hasn't staged a card in town in seven years, however. After UFC 53 was held at Boardwalk Hall in 2005, the organization expanded as the sport began to gain acceptance in other states and countries.
White indicated that it won't take another seven years before the next show in Atlantic City.
"Now that we've been pretty much everywhere else, it makes sense for us to come back," White said.
An ideal scenario would have the winner of tonight's main event between lightweight contenders Clay Guida and Gray Maynard eventually meeting former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar at Revel, Boardwalk Hall or maybe even Bader Field.
Edgar, a Toms River native, has a rematch with Ben Henderson in Denver on Aug. 11. He has made no secret of his desire to fight in Atlantic City, something he hasn't done since he joined the UFC four years ago.
"I hope I get to fight here soon," Edgar said Thursday during a question-and-answer session with fans at Revel. "I haven't fought here since 2007 (for another organization). I'm definitely overdue."