With six straight wins in the talented UFC featherweight division, No. 3-ranked Cub Swanson is on the hunt for an elusive title shot. After defeating tough knockout striker Jeremy Stephens in the main event of June’s UFC Fight Night 44 from San Antonio, UFC president Dana White said that Swanson was “going to get what he wants.”
But when featherweight champion Jose Aldo went down with a neck injury that forced him out of his UFC 177 main event rematch with No. 1 Chad Mendes, the fight was rescheduled for October 25’s UFC 179 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, leaving Swanson out in the cold.
He’s been in talks to fight No. 2 Frankie Edgar sometime later this year, an ultra-tough fight that will undoubtedly earn him his long awaited shot at gold. Despite the setbacks and seeming lack of respect, Swanson remains undeterred.
In a recent interview with BJ Penn Radio, the Southern California native put it simply when he said he is on top of his game and the belt will eventually be his:
“Having my success now, toward the latter half of my career, it’s awesome. I’ve been able to see things from a different perspective. I think at this point in my career is the most I’ve ever been ready. I’ve taken the long, hard road…and I will get the belt. I promise. And it’s gonna be my way. I don’t care what people say.”
He shifted his focus to his potential bout with Edgar, noting that he’s tired of sitting out after a year on the sidelines dealing with nagging injuries after his UFC 162 win over Dennis Siver:
“I don’t want to sit out, so we were talking about getting the Frankie Edgar fight. I told them I was up for it as long as it was on a big card. If I could get on that Fox card with him then that would be a big fight for me that I would be up for. I just want to stay active. I don’t want to sit out again. I really want to fight again this year. I want to take him out and then get the title shot.”
It’s understandable that he doesn’t want to sit out, and a fight with former lightweight champion Edgar would be the biggest of his UFC career.
But it’s the memory of his WEC loss to Aldo that haunts Swanson, motivating him to come back even stronger in an effort to seal up a rematch:
“I’ve never been as hungry as I am right now. It’s something I’ve wanted for five years and it’s been burning in my heart ever since. I’m on his highlight reel. That’s forever haunted me. If me and him fight again it’s going to be a dog fight, and I know I’m going to win.”
Swanson sounds beyond motivated to return the favor and make an example of Aldo, but he’ll most likely have to get past at least one more high0quality opponent first. Will he finally get his chance to prove he can hang with the dominant “Junior?”