by Steven Marrocco – MMAWeekly.com
Featherweight Cub Swanson is trying not to get ahead of himself when thinking about his fight with Jose Aldo at WEC 41.
“This fighting it’s all about highs and lows and when you experience lows, you can’t wait for the highs,” Swanson told MMAWeekly Radio. “I think being back (up) is going to mean that much more to me, after being down in the dumps.”
On June 7 he faces a fighter touted by many as the next big thing in the division. Aldo, a standout in Muay Thai, has stopped all of his opponents by strikes, the last two within the first round. Critics say he hasn’t faced quality opposition, but no one doubts he’s a serious threat.
Aldo’s hype has made Swanson the underdog in betting lines, but that’s nothing new for him.
“All that means is that if some of my friends and family bet on me, they’ll make a little more money,” Swanson commented.
It’s actually the second time around for the match-up. Swanson was supposed to face the Brazilian at WEC 34, but a broken hand kept him from rolling out the welcome mat. Since then, he’s kept an eye on the prospect.
The 26-year-old Palm Springs resident has battled ups and downs since losing a highly touted grudge match against Jens Pulver, a bout that was supposed to be his time to shine, but instead ended in heartbreak. Pulver has struggled mightily with the division’s upper echelon and is now at a major crossroads in his career.
“If I’d have won that fight I would have had a title shot, and maybe I wasn’t ready for it,” said Swanson. “I know I’m a better fighter now, so I can only go with how things turn out.”
He now has a school and student to keep watch over, keeping reflection to a bare minimum. A rematch with Pulver isn’t a pressing issue anymore, though he’d still take it. In the end, he believes the loss and subsequent injury may have been a blessing in disguise.
“I don’t know how much sense it would make now, except for closure for myself,” he said. “I’ve won all my fights since then, and he hasn’t won since then, so it’s kind of like, what good is that? Except for getting to beat him up for flipping off my fans. That would be nice. Hopefully he wins a couple of fights and it would make it worth it.”
Swanson has collected two wins since the Pulver fight, though his hand kept him out of action for much of 2008. His last win, over Hiroyuki Takaya at WEC 37, re-established his momentum. He says there are misconceptions about his time off.
“I know a lot of people think I haven’t been training, just because I haven’t had a lot of fights. But the only time I’ve taken off in the last six years is because of a broken hand. And that’s it.
“I’m the guy that’s in the gym rolling with a cast on. Even when I’m taking a day or two off, I’m watching fights. It’s what I do; it’s my life.”
For now, he’ll put all the “next step” thoughts aside. Title dreams complicate things; he just wants to put on a good show.
“Realistically, the only thing I think about for this fight, is putting on a good fight,” said Swanson. “I haven’t been thinking about Mike Brown, Urijah Faber, the next match-up, what’s next. I don’t care. Whatever. All I’m thinking about is Jose Aldo, getting in there, performing, and putting on a great fight for the fans.
“I want to put on a fight I can be proud of.”