Cub Swanson Proves Worthy of UFC Featherweight Title Shot, but Will It Come?

For Cub Swanson, perhaps the sixth time will be the charm.

Swanson ran his impressive Octagon win-streak to an even half-dozen on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 44, out-dueling the headhunting Jeremy Stephens en route to a unanimous-decision victory (49-46 x 2, 48-47).

The win—over an up-jumped lightweight who himself came in on a three-fight roll—might leave him at the very top of a suddenly robust featherweight division.

Then again, maybe not. There is more than just one 145-pound horse in this race.

Champion Jose Aldo’s dance card already has him ticketed for a rematch with Chad Mendes at UFC 176 on Aug. 2. Any number of indecisive outcomes there—an injury, a draw, a loss by Aldo necessitating a rematch—could cause a delay.

Next Sunday’s TUF 19 finale bout between BJ Penn and Frankie Edgar might also be just as likely as any to produce Aldo’s next challenger. In addition, Dennis Bermudez will meet Clay Guida next month at UFC on Fox 12. Bermudez currently has a win-streak just as long as Swanson’s and if he extends his to seven against Guida, well, all bets could be off.

The featherweight tides could shift a hundred times over before Swanson gets his shot. Any number of outside factors could put him off, including the fact that his victory over Stephens might turn out to be one of the lowest-profile happenings on the above list. Heck, it probably won’t even go down as the biggest story of the weekend.

Swanson’s main-event win came at the tail end of another marathon UFC Saturday, which saw the company run back-to-back shows on separate continents for the second time in less than a month. It also happened just hours after news broke that Chael Sonnen had failed yet another drug test, this time for substances of the decidedly performance-enhancing kind.

So, yeah, it might turn out that the 5’7” Swanson has a tough time standing out in the crowd, despite his neon green, tiger-striped fight gear.

What we do know with absolute certainty, however, is that—no matter what happens with the rest of the division—he deserves a second crack at Aldo as much as anyone. At this point, his case is pretty much air-tight.

Their first meeting at WEC 41 in July of 2009 has haunted him on highlight reels ever since. Aldo’s eight-second, double-flying-knee knockout propelled the Brazilian into a title fight against Mike Brown. He won it and has been champion ever since, currently rivaling all comers near the top of the pound-for-pound list.

Swanson’s journey has been a tad more arduous. Since dropping that fight to Aldo, he also lost to future No. 1 contenders Mendes and Ricardo Lamas. He sat out a year and a day with injuries, and for a while there, it seemed as though he’d never distance himself from the featherweight pack.

In the wake of the Lamas loss, though, Swanson has been on a tear. It’s been more than two-and-a-half years since the 30-year-old Jackson’s MMA product has tasted defeat, and he seems a world away from the inconsistent fighter who went 2-3 from 2009-11.

His performance against Stephens seemed as good a capstone on a run to No. 1 contender status as Swanson could’ve hoped for. By the time it was over, he had the ferocious Iowa native bloodied and discombobulated, having weathered rough patches during the early rounds when it seemed Stephens’ power might win the day.

But Swanson proved too good and too complete. For the majority of the bout, he was able to control the range, switching stances to land kicks to the legs and body. He was also able to keep Stephens off balance, stifling his potshot offense with a higher volume and more diverse array of strikes.

It didn’t hurt, either, that the former 155-pounder said he injured his right hand during the second round. Only firing on half his cylinders, Stephens proved incapable of keeping pace once Swanson began to pull away down the stretch.

“I just wanted to come out here and paint a picture for you guys…,” Swanson told play-by-play announcer Jon Anik in the cage after the fight. “What do you guys think? Six (wins) in a row, have I redeemed myself, or what?”

Consider Swanson redeemed.

On top of that redemption, though, he’s going to need a little bit of patience and a whole lot of luck to cash in his first career shot at the gold.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Steve Swanson Ready for War at Combate Americas DIEZ | MMAWeekly.com

  • a day ago
  • 3 views

The brother of UFC veteran Cub Swanson, Steve Swanson will face Gustavo Lopez in the 135-pound main event of Combate Americas DIEZ on Thursday. read news >>

UFC Fight Night 103 salaries: Penn ($150,000), Lauzon ($116,000), Rodriguez ($100,000) lead payrolls

  • a day ago
  • 19 views

He may have been handled with ease by rising star Yair Rodriguez, but B.J. Penn led all fighters in disclosed paydays after UFC Fight Night 103.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Conor McGregor is Getting into the Business of Protecting His Business | MMAWeekly.com

  • a day ago
  • 28 views

UFC dual-division champion Conor McGregor may not be in the Octagon any time soon, but he is certainly continuing to fight. read news >>

UFC Fight Night 103 medical suspensions: Yair Rodriguez, B.J. Penn among potentially long sits

  • a day ago
  • 24 views

The Arizona Boxing & Mixed Martial Arts Commission issued lengthier-than-mandatory medical suspensions to 15 fighters from Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 103 event, including the featherweight headliners.F read news >>

BJ Penn Tops UFC Fight Night 103 Fighter Salaries | MMAWeekly.com

  • a day ago
  • 158 views

Despite losing in the main event, UFC Hall of Fame fighter BJ Penn topped the UFC Fight Night 103: Rodriguez vs. Penn disclosed fighter payroll. read news >>

Twitter reacts to Tim Kennedy's retirement from MMA competition

  • a day ago
  • 33 views

UFC middleweight contender and former Strikeforce title challenger Tim Kennedy made his official exit from MMA today. See how social media reacted inside. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Photos: The best images from UFC Fight Night 103, including B.J. Penn's comeback

  • a day ago
  • 10 views

Check out the best photos from Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 103 event in Phoenix inside. Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

The top UFC fighters under 25

  • 2 days ago
  • 2 views

It wouldn’t be fair to say MMA was an “old man’s sport,” but for a long time, athletes in MMA started late or hit their prime a lot later. That has changed. Want proof? Read on for 13 of the top fig read news >>

Junior Dos Santos still hoping to headline UFC Fight Night 105 in Halifax, but against whom?

  • a day ago
  • 20 views

It wasn’t that long ago that Junior Dos Santos was flying high, getting ready to headline an event in Canada next month.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>

Gracie's Break Down the Ezekiel Choke with Actor/Student Vince Vaughn (video) | MMAWeekly.com

  • a day ago
  • 81 views

Heavyweight Oleksiy Oliynyk pulled off the first Ezekiel Choke in UFC history, and he did it while his opponent was on top of him in full mount. read news >>