Cub Swanson Reflects on Jens Pulver, Prepares for Fight Outside WEC


Jens Pulver and Cub SwansonBy John Morgan/TAGG Radio Network

In the aftermath of a disappointing 35-second submission loss to Jens “Little Evil” Pulver (22-8-1) at December’s WEC 31 event, lightweight Cub Swanson (11-2-0) still finds it difficult to cope with the results of that night.

Swanson reflected on the fight, and looked to the future, while a guest on Wednesday’s edition of TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), a partner site of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).

“I made a mistake,” Swanson said. “I know I can beat him. It’s just hard for me to swallow.”

Much was made of the rivalry between Swanson and Pulver in the build up before the fight. That rivalry intensified after the original date for the bout was pushed back three months due to an injury sustained by Pulver. Swanson felt the delay was detrimental to his performance.

“It definitely wore on me,” Swanson said. “It was a little strange. I was better prepared and in better shape the second time around, but it was just something different about it. It was more pressure, more pressure, more pressure. I don’t know if it got to me that much, but like I said, I made a mistake.”

According to the 24 year-old Swanson, the mistake he made was two-fold. A misunderstanding of Pulver’s strategy in the fight, as well as not accurately recognizing the choke Pulver was applying, led to Swanson’s downfall.

“I didn’t think he was going to put a choke on,” Swanson said. “I thought he was just going to stand up and try to hit me… I thought he’d want to get right back to his feet. So I was just waiting for him to jump to his feet, and then I was going to roll back and get to my feet and start over.”

Unfortunately for Swanson, Pulver had other ideas.

“When he put the choke on, I thought it was just a guillotine,” Swanson said “You know, I’m facing the ground, I can’t see anything. So my first reaction was ‘OK, no big deal. I’ll pull guard, my head will slip out, and we’ll still be on the ground in my world.’ You know, I said â??he doesn’t want to be there.’

“So when I went to pull guard, my neck cranked pretty severe, and I realized it was a wrestler’s front head lock. We would call it like a no-arm D’Arce, or a no-arm anaconda, but it’s really a wrestling move, and that’s the only reason that he knew it. So I would have had to fight the hand instead of pull guard. I guessed the wrong choke, and all I did was make it worse.”

After the stoppage, Swanson said the rivalry continued to boil as Pulver took the opportunity to yell profanities at Swanson and flash obscene gestures to Swanson supporters in the stands. Since that episode, however, Swanson insists the turmoil has settled.

“I was pretty angry afterwards in the hotel,” said Swanson. “I said, â??You know if he apologizes to me, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt of being excited and not be pissed off. But if he’s going to be a jerk to me, I’m definitely not going to like this guy.’ But he came up to me and apologized for it, and I said it was cool, you know… I took my loss like a man, and I forgave him for flipping off my fans and everything.”

With that disappointing evening behind him, Swanson is focused on returning to his previous winning ways, albeit on a much smaller stage, at this Saturday’s IFBL Fight Night 11 in Niles, Ohio. Swanson will compete in the main event against Donny “Eagle Eye” Walker.

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“Tough kid,” Swanson said of his opponent. “He’s 11-6, and he went all three rounds with Jeff Curran, which tells me he’s a game opponent.”

One might question why Swanson would take a fight outside of the WEC to compete for an organization he has admittedly never heard of, but Swanson feels it was a necessary step for him.

“After training five months to fight Jens, then making a huge mistake and losing the way I did, it was just very frustrating,” Swanson said. “So I just kind of wanted to step back, and take a different fight, and try to get back on my feet before I jump back in (the WEC)… (I want to) get the spark back and start tearing through people in the WEC again.”

And Swanson wants to assure his fans they will be able to see him in the WEC again very soon.

“They (the WEC) want me to fight right away, like March 26,” Swanson said. “But the card’s getting pretty full, and they kind of need an answer. And it’s so close to this fight that we’re not real sure. So it’s a possibility. And if it’s not that card, then it will for sure be the next one, which is June 1.”

The March 26 WEC event, to be held in Las Vegas, is currently rumored to have eight fights lined up. The event is headlined by a Paulo Filho vs. Chael Sonnen rematch. No announcement has yet been made by the WEC regarding a June 1 date.

To hear the full interview, download Wednesday’s edition of TAGG Radio, available for free in the TAGG Radio archives.

This story was produced by TAGG Radio specially for MMAjunkie.com. The show — which is hosted by fighter/broadcaster Frank Trigg, Gorgeous George and Goze — books some of the biggest names in MMA. Download all the former episodes at www.taggradio.com, or tune into TAGG Radio’s live shows Monday-Friday at noon ET/9 a.m. PT.

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