Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight veteran Cub Swanson thought his days competing in the Octagon were over. That was until the UFC presented him with a chance to fight former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar at UFC Atlantic City on April 21 in New Jersey.
Swanson last fought in December against Brian Ortega. It was the last fight on his contract and he lost the bout via a second-round submission. According to Swanson, the UFC attempted to re-sign him on two occasions once before and once after the Ortega fight. Swanson declined both offers believing financially the bids were too low.
The UFC then contacted Swanson last week and made him a third offer which included a nice bump financially, although it did have one condition; that he must fight Frankie Edgar on April 21 in Edgar’s hometown of New Jersey.
Swanson talked with Ariel Helwani on the contract situation on Monday’s episode of “The MMA Hour.”
“I love fighting for the UFC, it’s been awesome for me,” Swanson said. “But at the end of the day, it got to a point where I really thought that I wasn’t going to re-sign. I thought that OK, my time is done, it is what it is. For a few months, I thought I was done with the UFC.”
“I said, ‘Cool, let’s do it,’” Swanson said.
It seemed the UFC was in a bind for the New Jersey event and when the hometown favorite in Edgar agreed to appear on the card, the UFC had little top ranked featherweight options to give him as Max Holloway and Ortega will fight next for the belt and talks are underway for Jose Aldo and Jeremy Stephens to lock horns. The UFC then turned their attention back onto Swanson’s contractual negotiations before deciding to increase their offer to get him onto the card.
The last time Edgar and Swanson met was back in November 2014, when Edgar finished Swanson by submission in the fifth round.
“He gave me just a straight ass kicking,” Swanson said. “I owe him one.”
Swanson (25-8) has fought 14 times inside the Octagon and a win against Edgar would put him firmly back into title contention. According to the official UFC rankings, he is No. 4 in the featherweight division, which was another incentive for him to sign the contract.
“My passion is with the UFC,” Swanson said. “There’s a lot of fights that make me hungry. To be in the big show, to be in the big fights. That played a big role in it.”
Swanson said his manager received a number of offers from other promotions at the conclusion of his UFC contract, although Swanson wasn’t impressed by the way some of them conducted themselves from a business perspective.
“Some of the other companies were trying to play games and I didn’t appreciate that,” he said.
Things seemed to work out well for Swanson in the end; he held out for a better deal and landed one of the top featherweights in the world.
“Then in a quick second, I’m fighting Frankie Edgar,” Swanson said. “It’s crazy.”