UFC 162: Cub Swanson on game planning, Frankie Edgar & working with troubled teens

Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

UFC featherweight contender, Cub Swanson discusses Frankie Edgar, game planning mistakes he's made in the past and his work with troubled teens in this exclusive interview.

They say patience is a virtue, but just how patient does one have to be in the featherweight division to get a shot at the belt? Chan Sung Jung is slated to meet Aldo next for the a chance at the belt, and he's currently on a three fight streak, with wins over Poirier, Garcia and Hominick. Immediately prior to those wins, he was knocked out by George Roop and lost a controversial decision to Leonard Garcia, which he later went on to avenge.

Frankie Edgar, who also fights this weekend, against Charles Oliveira, is on a three fight losing streak. As a matter of fact, in his last six fights, he is 2-3-1, and hasn't logged a win since October 8, 2011. Despite this, Edgar recently stated to Bleacher Report that he would take as many title shots as the UFC would give him, and if they offered him another one tomorrow, he would snap it up.

Enter Cub Swanson, who happens to be on a tear. There is no two ways about it, and should he beat Dennis Siver Saturday night, that will put him on a five fight win streak. He holds wins over Dustin Poirier, Charles Oliveira, Ross Pearson and George Roop. His only loss in his last six fights, is to Ricardo Lamas, who some argue to be the true number one contender. Personally, I feel that if Swanson logs an impressive win Saturday night, he and Lamas should duke it out in a rematch for the next shot at the belt. My money is on Cub.

Funnily enough, there aren't any words, rumors or even whispers coming from Zuffa brass that allude to Cub being in line. Surely, with a win this weekend, he'll be on the top two rungs of the ladder. I recently interviewed Swanson, who was very forthcoming about the weaknesses in his game plans in the past, his quiet, almost silent ascension to the top of the food chain, and his work with troubled teens. Here's what he had to say:

Frankie Edgar & Title Shots

I'm ahead of him, you know what I mean? The fans don't want to see him fight for the title again, right away. They want to see him earn it again. He's had opportunity after opportunity, and now it's our turn. I've waited so patiently. I'm just keeping my mouth shut and fighting hard. I'm letting my work speak for itself, so I know my time is coming. I just want to go out there and live up to my own expectations.

I'm here putting in the work. You don't get to come down here demanding whatever you want. I deserve to call the shots, not him. -Cub Swanson

I don't worry about Frankie getting a shot before me, because I don't think he'll be able to finish Oliveira more impressively than I did. It kind of pissed me off when he called me out, because he specifically asked for five rounds, because he thinks that the only way he'll beat me is by grinding out a decision or taking me into deep waters. That offended me. I'm here putting in the work. You don't get to come down here demanding whatever you want. I deserve to call the shots, not him.

Game Planning

As long as I'm in there doing my thing, and am aware of what he's doing, I'm gonna be fine. There's nothing that he's got that I can't defend. That was the thing when I fought Oliveira. Everyone said I had to really focus on jiu jitsu, because he was so slick on the ground. I literally did no jiu jitsu for that camp. Everyone was like, 'Are you training your jiu jitsu for him?' I said, 'Nope. I'm gonna knock him out.' He's a very slick grappler. Why am I gonna train my whole camp trying to work his strength?

I feel like that's a mistake I've made in the past. When I fought Chad Mendes, I worried so much about wrestling, that I ended up getting taken down the entire camp. By the time I got in the cage to fight him, my confidence was so low, I couldn't put anything together, because I wasn't fighting like myself. I was worried about training to fight his fight. If you do what you do better, then it doesn't matter.

Work With Troubled Teens

As far as going out there, and giving back to the community, it's something I've been doing for a while now, kind of quietly. I do it every opportunity I get, even though I'm not a great public speaker, because I get nervous. I just feel like I have to, like I should be doing this. The only reason I let it be known that I was doing this, was to challenge others to do it, too. If you're in a position to positively impact people, then you should do that.

Not Becoming a Product of the System

I remember having so many tickets, because I used to get harassed by the police. They would just pile up to where I couldn't afford them, so I didn't even want to deal with them. It was such a headache that they would just let them go, and that's where a lot of people end up getting into more trouble. I can see how hard it is for people that are trying to do good, but get buried in their circumstances. At the end of the day though, it boils down to a lot of choices, and the choices you make earlier in life affect you later on down the road. You just have to accept responsibility for those, and make the changes.

You can follow Cub via his Twitter account, @CubSwanson

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