Cub Swanson is fighting Jeremy Stephens Saturday night in San Antonio at UFC Fight Night 44 but both men have one eye on division champion Jose Aldo. Stephens as said that UFC officials told him the winner of this fight gets the champion next.
Aldo, of course, has to first defend his belt in a rematch against Chad Mendes. That said, Swanson had his mind on the dominant champ who once knocked him out in eight seconds, at media workouts this week.
Swanson has come a long way since that WEC loss to Aldo. He went on to lose to top contenders Mendes and Ricardo Lamas but has since won five straight.
His desire for revenge and a champion's life has made Swanson hungry. Hungrier, he believes, than Aldo is right now.
“I think when an athlete is very explosive, and that’s what he is, and he’s cutting a lot of weight, he comes out very strong and then he has to pace himself,” Swanson said of the champ.
“You’re going five, five-(minute rounds). I do think he’s trying to keep the belt and not really trying to put people away, and when he’s getting the good life, it’s totally understandable...All I could say is I hope I never try to do that. I might, who knows. Just now, I’m really hungry, and I want to win."
Swanson isn't delusional, though, and understands that Aldo is still the man to beat. He also remembers well how devastating the power of "Scarface" can be.
“Obviously, I need to respect him," Cub said.
"He’s the only person to ever sit me down with a strike in my whole career, and that was a rough one. I learned a lot from that, and I think I’ve paid my dues, and I’m just excited to try and get that one back.”
If Aldo has the power, though, Swanson believes that he has one ace up his sleeve that neither Stephens nor Aldo, nor anyone else will be able to counter.
“I feel like I’m the fastest puncher in the featherweight division," he concluded.
"And I’m willing to put it to the test if anyone wants to tell me otherwise."