Four years ago, Cub Swanson stepped into the cage with Jose Aldo at WEC 41 and was knocked out in eight seconds. It was the flying knee heard around the world and it propelled Aldo into a featherweight title bout against then-champion Mike Brown.
Fast forward to today and Aldo is still the featherweight champion, he dismantled Brown in that 2009 matchup and has dominated every challenger in his path since but one former foe may just come back to haunt him.
For awhile, the Aldo knockout was the only lasting image that fans had of Swanson. No matter how much he had improved or who he had beaten, a majority of fans would see him on a poster or on TV and go ‘oh, that’s the dude who couldn’t last 10 seconds with Aldo’. That ate away at Swanson and now he is extremely hungry to extract revenge.
Since moving over to the UFC from the WEC merger, Swanson has gone 3-1 and is currently riding a three-fight win streak. In his last three bouts he has knocked out Charles Oliveira and TKO’d Ross Pearson and George Roop, all in extremely devastating fashion.
He was originally slated to meet Dennis Siver at UFC on FUEL TV 7 but an injury forced Siver out and has put Dustin Poirier in. Swanson is confident that with a win he will get the next title shot and possibly redemption against Aldo.
“I feel the same way [that winning this fight will make me the number one contender] and I feel great leading up to it,” Swanson told BJPenn.com Radio.
“He’s a tough, tough dude but I feel like I am technically better in the striking game and I’m going to go out there and prove that I’m the number one contender.”
The Swanson that fought Aldo is not the same Swanson we are seeing in the UFC right now. He is a much more disciplined fighter and extremely dangerous. Swanson is one of Jackson-Winkeljohn’s elite finishers and has evolved exponentially faster than a majority of fighters. The Albuquerque native attributes his improvements to his battles with rough injuries.
“It’s really a combination of things, I’ve been asked this before and I answer it differently but I really believe in myself now and that comes with not having all of these bumps in the road,” Swanson said.
“With all of these bumps it’s hard to know if things are going to be good or not and during those injuries I was in the gym. When I would have a year off from training, I was in the gym everyday working with one hand or around my injuries and I never ever took any time off. When I had surgery, I took three days off and I wasn’t supposed to be in the gym but I was in there hitting pads and running. That’s why it seems like I’ve gotten better quickly but realistically I was in the gym everyday.”
Swanson might not be a superstar like Jon Jones or a massive fan favorite like Clay Guida but he is one of the most respected fighters in the New Mexico camp. Living in New Mexico myself, I hear people talking very highly about Swanson all of the time. He’s just one of those individuals that you can’t help but find inspiration from.
“It’s hard for me to take compliments like that just because it means so much to me. When it’s all said and done, the fans are either going to love you or hate you but when you get the respect amongst your peers, that really shows that you’re somebody,” Swanson said.
“I’m happy to help all the guys at Jackson’s and a lot of my teammates have seen me go through some hard times and I’ve bounced right back so I think that’s always something for them to look up to.”
As far as a rematch with Aldo is concerned, there are no guarantees and Swanson is well aware of this. He has to get past Poirier first and Aldo must defend against Frankie Edgar at UFC 156. However, if the shot at revenge becomes a reality, Swanson is ready to avenge himself. He’s a different fighter today and the incredible confidence that he has within could absolutely surprise a lot of people.
“It will be kicks and knees against fast strikes and power punches. I don’t think Aldo’s hands are that great but he kills people with knees and kicks. The question is, are my hands going to be more of a factor or will it be his knees and kicks? It’s going to be a fun game to play and I’m game.”
To listen to the full interview you can do so below:
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