Cub Swanson picked up his fourth straight UFC win over Artem Lobov last night (Sat., April 22, 2017) in a brutal war in the main event of UFC Fight Night 108 (watch full highlights here) from Nashville, Tennessee.
The victory has the ultra-exciting Swanson on the cusp of a coveted UFC featherweight title shot, and indeed he would seem like the most likely – and most deserving – 145-pound title contender for the winner of June 3’s UFC 212 headliner between Jose Aldo and Max Holloway. But the victory was also Swanson’s fourth fight in just over 12 months, and each bout went the full distance regardless of if Swanson won handily or not.
One of those wins, his “Fight of the Year”-winning battle with Doo Ho Choi at last December’s UFC 206, was an all-out slobberknocker where Swanson absorbed a huge amount of punishment himself. He’s also lost by knockout and submission to the top two featherweights in the world respectively in Aldo and Holloway.
And while he definitely threw and landed pretty much everything in his arsenal on Lobov last night, as Bloody Elbow’s Connor Ruebusch pointed out, he absorbed a whopping 123 significant strikes in doing so, much more than the other five-round main events he’s fought, his brutal stoppage loss to Edgar and his strong decision win over power striker Jeremy Stephens:
Artem Lobov hit Cub Swanson with 123 significant strikes. Cub's other 5-rounders: Frankie Edgar landed 93, Jeremy Stephens landed 65.
— Connor Ruebusch (@BoxingBusch) April 23, 2017
It’s fair to wonder when all these wars will eventually catch up to the 33-year-old veteran, and he also took two some huge beatings and endured serious resulting injuries in the two-fight skid to the division’s elite in Holloway and Edgar prior to the success he’s been building today.
That’s not to trash the accomplishments of the currently surging Jackson-Wink MMA product, because he’s looked nothing but rejuvenated and deadly after returning from almost a year off after the Holloway fight. But this is the fight game, and it’s notoriously cruel. We’ve seen and will continue to see top-level fighters fall off a cliff in terms of skill without any prior notice, something Dana White constantly cites about the fight game when talking to the press.
It may or may not happen to Swanson anytime in the near future, and he’s clearly one of the hottest fighters in MMA right now regardless.
Could that change overnight, however? Or will he continue his run of winning slugfests until he reaches his ultimate goal of being the UFC featherweight champion?