UFC featherweight veteran Cub Swanson is enjoying the freedom that comes with being unranked.
Swanson is set to return to action from a knee injury when he faces Daniel Pineda at UFC 256 on December 12. The injury was unfortunate in itself as it came during a Submission Underground appearance just a few weeks after he returned to the win column with an impressive unanimous decision win over Kron Gracie.
That said, Swanson is enjoying where his career is at right now — especially as he feels he can now explore fights that have interested him in multiple divisions now that that he is unranked.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about – because I’m not ranked right now that was kinda freeing actually,” Swanson told MMA Junkie Radio. “It was funny. I was actually talking to Dominick Cruz one day at the (UFC Performance Institute), and he was asking me about fights, this and that, and I was like I could only fight certain people because I was ranked. And he was like, ‘Tell them to unrank you.’ And I was like, what? I had never even thought of that. Like, who would ask for that? But at this point in my career it was a little freeing because I could fight anybody.
“It made me think of the possibilities of fighting at (135 pounds), fighting at 55. There are fights that I’ve always thought would be great like at 55, a friend of mine, Anthony Pettis, at 35, Urijah Faber. I could even fight Aldo at 35, so there’s a lot of possibilities. I could see that in the later part of my career they’d want to see some old school WEC matchups.”
Those are certainly exciting matchups with Aldo being one in particular that Swanson has eyed for a while.
The pair, of course, met in the WEC with Aldo requiring just eight seconds to knock Swanson out in their 2009 meeting. And given how Aldo has performed since making the move down to 135, Swanson is looking to emulate him — especially as he feels he has become smaller as he’s gotten older.
“I’ve never tried to make it that far down,” Swanson said of bantamweight. “I feel like I have gotten a little bit smaller in the last couple of years. Making (145) has actually gotten a little easier for me, but yeah it just kinda opened up the idea of me possibly doing a 35 fight, possibly doing 55. I’m open to the ideas.
“I think the biggest thing at this point is, for one, I got this fight ahead of me. I’m trying to get some momentum, and I’ve made a lot of changes in my style, brought some things back, introducing new things, so I’m just trying to get on rhythm of Cub 5.0 and then whatever happens after that, just fun fights at 55 or 45 or 35. I think that’s the biggest thing. I just want fights that are interesting to me.”
Who do you think Swanson should face after Pineda?