Cub Swanson played soccer in college. | Photo: Sherdog.com
Cub Swanson was accomplished enough as a soccer player to be included as part of the Olympic developmental program for kids, but a broken leg stopped him from moving past the state qualifications in California. The travel required for serious players did not align with the financial restraints of Swanson and his peers in Palm Springs, Calif., either, but the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt is happy with the way his career turned out.
Swanson, a Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts representative, will make his promotional debut against Ricardo Lamas at UFC on Fox 1 on Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
“[Soccer is] something that didn’t work out for me, and another door opened,” he says. “Sometimes I wish that I could have pursued it, but I’m happy doing what I’m doing. I feel like a lot of us here [at Jackson’s MMA] or MMA fighters, in general, have the heart and the will to make it in other sports.”
Swanson’s athleticism from his time on the pitch has translated well to fighting, according to teammate Isaac Vallie-Flagg.
“He picks stuff up so fast and is so athletic that he can do a lot of s--- that a lot of people can’t do,” he says. “I know [wrestling coach] Israel Martinez is supper happy just watching his wrestling take off. He’s hard to take down; he’s taking people down. That is in direct correlation with his athleticism from soccer.”