Cub Swanson has packed a career’s worth of injuries into his first eight years as a professional MMA fighter.
That’s why the 28-year-old wants big fights now, just in case more injuries come and his future’s short.
“You never know when it’s going to be your last fight, and I want to be fighting the most exciting fights, the best guys and really leave my mark if I have to stop fighting at some point,” Swanson recently told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show.”
In January, Swanson delivered what he considers the biggest win of his career -- a second-round stoppage of George Roop at UFC on Fox 2. It was a fight many expected Swanson to lose.
“Most of my best memorable performances were on undercards, and then my big losses were on the main cards,” Swanson said. “I feel like to the average person, that’s how they remember me is my not-so-good performances. I feel like I just need to step up and really showcase my skills when the time is right.”
He’ll get a chance Friday when he fights Ross Pearson, the lightweight winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 9, at UFC on FX 4 in Atlantic City, N.J.
“I just feel that I’m faster than him,” Swanson said. “He’s a person that I thought was a big [lightweight]. I was like, ‘This is going to be crazy. He’s going to get down to 145?’ So I always thought that he was going to be a pretty big [featherweight], but I’ve actually put on a bunch of size and strength and kept my speed, so I’m not as worried about that. I just know that he comes to fight and so do I. I feel like I might have a little bit more tools in my arsenal.”
Despite all of his injuries over the years, Swanson kept working on his game. If he stays healthy, he could cause problems in the UFC’s 145-pound division.
“I think the biggest thing for me when I was injured was I would like disappear for a year and I would always think to myself and laugh … like my opponents are going to think I haven’t been training,” Swanson said. “But when my jaw was wired shut, I was running on the treadmill. That was the only thing I could do. I was hitting the bag real light because they told me not to do anything, but I was in the gym with a wired jaw. When I broke my hands, I was sparring with a cast on one hand and punching with the other and kicking. When you do things like that, you really have to evolve your game and push yourself to think outside the box. I’ve always tried to improve and I think it shows.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 26:07).