Not every athlete can be LeBron James, a guy in his early 20's thrusted into a position where you're forced to handle pressure and the limelight. Cub Swanson didn't respond to his first big opportunity back in December of 2007. Expecting a slugfest, he was overanxious and sloppy against Jens Pulver. The veteran fighter saw an opening and quickly caught Swanson in a guillotine choke. Things got worse for Swanson (13-2, 5-1 WEC) as he broke his hand. Now he's getting a second lease on life. An upset win over WEC's latest hot shot, Brazilian Jose Aldo, would open some eyes. He's learned much from the Pulver loss and the adversity of the broken hand:
"I think I have a woman's hands and I try to hit as hard as I can so it doesn't really work out. I go the extra mile to take care of them. I've had some boxing coaches help me out. Now I'm here and I don't think it'll be a problem."
Swanson, 25, wraps his hands heavily and only spars with 16-ounce gloves, because he doesn't want anything outside the cage holding him back knowing how tough it is to get in a position for a major fight. He said he felt like an outsider after his loss to Pulver but it's all part of the game:
"That's the way the fight game is, that's the way fight fans are. Sometimes they turn on you. It's up to us to get right back up."
Watch Cagewriter with Swanson on the eve of WEC 41:
Aldo is 14-1 and is being touted by some as the scariest prospect at 145 pounds but his competition hasn't been at the level of Swanson:
"I see he has talent. All these people are saying (to him) 'you're the favorite, you're the favorite.' That's pressure on him. I get to sneak up in here without having the pressure put on me because nobody expects anything of me."
Aldo has a lot on the line. If he steamrolls Swanson there's a good shot that he gets the title shot from the winner of Urijah Faber and Mike Brown.
Swanson addresses the internet and some of the goofs who send emails his way and make comments. We made sure to relay a comment from his last fight that was posted on Cagewriter (7:30 mark).