Swanson Vs Stephens For “Probable” Title Shot
Cub Swanson thinks that he should be next in line for Jose Aldo’s belt. On Saturday, he has the opportunity to stake a legitimate claim by fighting Jeremy Stephens in the main event of the UFC’s Fight Night 44 at the AT&T arena in San Antonio, Texas USA.
Cub’s Wish list
After successfully recuperating from his November 2013 elbow surgery, Cub Swanson went to UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby with a list of opponents that he wanted to fight. That list was no different from the UFC’s Top 10 featherweights. Unfortunately, as they went through the list, the top names were crossed out one by one and Shelby instead gave Swanson #11 Jeremy Stephens.
Swanson was disappointed as Stephens was not in his list, but a win on Saturday may give him the title shot that he’s been waiting for.
Probable Title Shot
In a recent interview with MMAjunkie, UFC president Dana White confirmed that the winner between Swanson (20-5, 8 KOs and 7 submissions) and Stephens (23-9, 15 KOs and 3 submissions) is “probably” going to get the next shot at the UFC Featherweight title.
Aldo faces Chad Mendes in the main event of UFC 176 on August 2.
Swanson says that he understands why the UFC cannot guarantee him then next title shot. He acknowledges that “there are so many variables” surrounding the business of the UFC.
However, he singled out the upcoming Frankie Edgar-BJ Penn bout on July 6. Swanson believes that because both men are “household names”, their popularity could easily earn them the next title crack.
But instead of calling out names on Saturday, Swanson says he will just do his job in the octagon and get the victory. He does not want to sound like “begging” for a title shot although he believes a win should earn it.
Career Changing Injury
Swanson has been on a tear as of late, winning five consecutive bouts in the UFC after his submission loss to Ricardo Llamas in 2011. He credits his current success to a career threatening injury which he suffered while training in 2011. That horrible injury led to a broken jaw, caved-in cheekbone and shattered eye socket which required dual surgery. The surgery required the insertion of metal plates into his face and wires that shut his jaw. But instead of retiring, Swanson came back better.
Four of his last five wins have been by knockout and two of those won him post fight performance bonuses. Among his knockout victims during this streak were big named fighters Ross Pearson, Charles Oliveira and Dennis Siver. Only Dustin Poirier lasted the distance, but Swanson defeated him handily via unanimous decision.
Drop to Featherweight
Jeremy Stephens has had a roller coaster ride in the UFC since 2007. But after suffering three consecutive losses from 2011-2012, he dropped to the featherweight division and has won three straight matches, two by KO. When Stephens was informed that the winner has a “probable” title shot, he said he was prepared to give an unforgettable performance. Stephens believes that this fight has the makings of a “Fight of the Year” candidate and with their exciting styles, Stephens thinks that “performance won’t be much of a disappointment.” He says that they are both going inside the octagon to “slug it out.”
With those fighting words and the consequences at stake, the showdown in San Antonio has the makings of a Texas gun fight.
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