You can’t talk about the UFC’s featherweight division without Cub Swanson. He’s been one of the top guys at his weight for a long time. After fighting in WEC, he put on a six-fight win streak in the UFC. His most recent losses are to Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar — the current champ and the current title challenger — with four more wins straight pushing them into the past. Matter of fact, all his losses are former champions or fighters who have fought for the title. This is one of the reasons that, after his fight with Brian Ortega, he will not renew his UFC contract.
“It’s a power move. Of course, I want to get paid more. The thing people don’t understand is that I’ve got to a point where I’m making good money and it’s enough to live on, but it’s not retirement money. Not even close. I’ve been doing this for 13 years and I’m in the prime of my career, but at some point it’s going to dip off and I’d like to walk away before I start having really bad performances with enough money in my account to make smart investments and do the right things. I just want that opportunity. [Max Holloway fighting Frankie Edgar] is the 20th title fight since I’ve been in this division. I’ve been in the top tier of guys my entire career. It’s a little frustrating seeing somebody like Frankie, who is great, get tons of title fights. I just don’t understand it. I wanted some leverage for that [in my contract]. I’m next. They’re always saying, ‘We can’t guarantee anything,’ and it’s like, c’mon, yes, you can.”
— JacksonWinkMMA (@JacksonWinkMMA) October 2, 2017
“My honest opinion is I feel I may have upset somebody because I didn’t take a new deal. That’s just how it works. I’m very happy with the UFC, but I would like to position myself better. I think I probably would have gotten [Jose] Aldo or [Ricardo] Lamas if I’d signed a new contract with them. I didn’t, and now I’m getting a young, hungry, up-and-comer. My last couple fights, I feel they’re showing that they see me more as a gatekeepers, having all these young, up-and-comers fight me. I’ve got no problem knocking them off. To say I’m getting paid the same to fight Aldo or Frankie, as Brian Ortega? I’m like, OK, I’ll take this youngster, who hasn’t been in the five-round wars yet. Unfortunately for Ortega, I’m pretty pissed off for this situation and I’m going to take it out on him.” — Cub Swanson speaking to ESPN’s Five Rounds.
If the UFC doesn’t offer something that Cub Swanson can respect, it’s possible we may even see him in Bellator. The organization has picked up some very impressive talent from the UFC over the past couple of years, including big names like Rory MacDonald and Gegard Mousasi, who we could never imagine not being in the UFC. Swanson will fight Brian Ortega on December 9th for the main event of UFC Fresno. Hopefully, Swanson will get what he wants. With a win, it’s hard to deny him a title shot at least.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/5/2017.