Heading into Saturday night’s UFC Austin main event, Cub Swanson was rocketing towards a title shot. He had, in fact, been told by the UFC that he would get a shot at featherweight champion Jose Aldo if he defeated Frankie Edgar in Texas.
He felt he had everything he needed: the speed, the power, the confidence.
“I’m gonna try to finish him. Going five rounds is never fun,” Swanson said in the days before the fight.
He never really got the opportunity to try and finish, but the second part of his comment was fulfilled, as Edgar grounded and pounded Swanson for the better part of five rounds, leaving his face bruised and bloodied; definitely not fun.
“It was super frustrating,” Swanson said during the FOX Sports 1 post-show. “He did what he had to do; he exposed me. I was super confident. I thought I prepared, and obviously I underprepared. I want thank him for a lesson, and I want to be better.”
Even though Swanson lost a title shot along with the fight, a large part of why he’s in the fight game has to do with testing himself against the best and finding out what he needs to do to get better.
Like any fighter, of course he wants the belt. But Swanson is a fighter’s fighter, the type of athlete that doesn’t want the gold just so he can say he’s a champion. He wants to get better and beat the best fighters and know in his own heart that he is the best and deserving of the belt.
“I took this fight because I felt he was one of the best at the lower weight class,” said Swanson. “I wanted to test myself. I’m getting up there in age, and I wanted to see how bad I am.”
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A weakness in his game exposed, Swanson was obviously disappointed, but resolute in getting back to the gym and ironing out the wrinkles.
He says he’s getting up there in age, but Swanson is just 31 years old. He may have suffered a setback, but it came at the hands of one of the best fighters in the world.
With numerous fighters competing into their late 30s or early 40s, it’s likely that we haven’t heard the last of Cub Swanson and his championship aspirations.