After the terrific featherweight fight we got this past Saturday night between Edgar and Aldo, conversations started popping up about who would be next for Jose Aldo. Ricardo Llamas had been promised the fight if he beat Eric Koch, but the Zuffa brass, in their infinite wisdom, have deemed that Anthony Pettis is next in line. With that bout having already been set for August 3rd, the rest of the 145ers will continue on in their quest for a shot at Aldo's strap. Among those candidates, quietly climbing over his felled opponents, is Cub Swanson. Currently on a three fight win streak, with all coming by way of KO or TKO, Cub faces super tough Dustin Poirier next Saturday night in London on the UFC on Fuel TV: Barao vs. McDonald card. I recently spoke with Swanson and got thoughts on his upcoming fight, title shots, and the problems he has with MMA gloves.
I thought Siver was going to try to bang with me, maybe try to take me down at the end of the rounds, just to try to get up on the score cards, but I feel like Dustin is gonna try to take me down right away. The change in opponents is pretty big in this fight. One is a short, stocky, standard fighter, and the other is a tall, lanky southpaw, so as far as stance, they're completely opposite.
I've got some anger issues, so when I get in there, no matter who it is, I want to knock their head off. I'm going to be cautious though, because I know he's gonna try to take it to the ground. I actually started my camp in Chicago, working with Izzy, who is our great wrestling coach. Out here in Albuquerque, I've been working with a lot of black belts, really pushing my ground game. I'm pretty much ready to go anywhere in this fight.
I've dropped about 40 pounds for this fight. I'm almost there, and am actually a little ahead of schedule. When I got the call, eight weeks out, I was 185. I've always walked around big and never had an issue dropping the weight for the cut.
Jeckyll and Hyde
I'm finding more, that as I get further into my career, I kind of separate myself into two different people at this point. There's the guy who fights and gets everything out in the cage, and then there's the everyday guy. That guy is very non-confrontational and quiet.
My hands have been good lately. They hurt every day, so I pay attention to them, and try not to push it. There's days where I wrap them up, and I know right away that I'm not gonna hit that day. I'm a lot bigger than I used to be when I was younger, so I hit a lot harder. Some days, my hands just ache. It's always there, but I've been taking those extra precautions and wrapping them the right way. It's made me a more accurate striker, too.
I think MMA gloves are crap, to be honest. First off, they're square. When they give them to you, they're a square piece of 4 ounce glove. They say that they're open fingered so you can grapple, and then you can close your hand to punch. I believe the gloves should be rounder, because we hit from weird angles. If you relax your hand, the way the gloves are now, the natural position is for the hand to be completely open, which is why so many people get poked in the eye. If they were curved, and you put them on and relaxed your hand, your hand would follow the curve, not completely open. You'd only have to squeeze a little bit to make a fist with a more curved glove. It's a balance that's missing with the current gloves. The padding, instead of just falling off at the sides, should follow the curve of the hand more.
When we get the gloves, the UFC tries to help out by sort of curving the gloves for you overnight. You also have to kind of stretch them out a little bit, because they're brand new and stiff. Some commission guys, like in Toronto, they wouldn't let anybody touch my gloves but me, and the problem with that is I can barely get them on. When you can't break them in, they're very uncomfortable. I had to put them on early and start hitting the pads early, the day of the fight, just so I could feel comfortable, and not have the circulation cut off in my fingers. If I do less handwraps, then I might break my hands again.
I thought, for sure, that Aldo won the fight, three rounds to two, based on damage. I thought it was a Hell of a fight, and it went exactly how I thought it would. He looked better than ever for the first few rounds, then he started to wilt, and Frankie started shining in the last couple rounds. Frankie is tough. I really wish he had taken a fight before Jose, to kind of get used to that new weight class. I don't think he was prepared for the pace of the 145 pound division.
Attention for the lighter divisions
For me, it's always been 155 and under that makes the most noise. We've got a lot of finishes and deserve that attention. It sucks that if you're a heavyweight, you can make tons of money by going in and knocking somebody out, but us littler guys don't get the same. It's tough. We go out and we grind and grind in training, and put on great shows. It's tough on our bodies, and I'd like to get that same kind of money.
I know they promised whoever won out of Koch and Llamas the next shot, but now we have Pettis. I'm just gonna go out there and fight my fight, and try to make it exciting. If I somehow get another title shot soon, I would be thrilled, but if not, let's just bring on the next guy. It doesn't bother me that Pettis got the shot. He has some big wins, and right now, he's a big name. I know Llamas deserves it, but I think Pettis is a better match-up for Aldo.
You can follow Cub via his Twitter account, @CubSwanson