Diego Brandao is not the only featherweight coming into hostile territory this weekend, as his teammate Cub Swanson also made the trip across the pond to serve as the Brazilian's cornerman. Although the focus is on preparing Brandao for his five-round main event on Saturday, Swanson couldn't help but direct a few choice words at the Irishman when he was given the chance.
"He said, 'Do you want to see what a number-one contender looks like?' I said, 'Yeah, I'll just look in the mirror.' And he just laughed. That's how the conversation really went," Swanson told The Telegraph. "I told him to focus on his fight because he's got a tough fight coming up. He said, 'No, I don't. I have an easy fight.' Again, I just laughed and said, 'Look, man, if you live up to your fight, maybe we'll fight some day, but focus on your fight. You don't need to talk crap to me.' I was trying to give him advice, but he's not big on taking it."
Swanson, who is considered to be the division's top contender following Chad Mendes, revealed that experience and maturity helped him develop over the past few years. He is now on a six-fight winning streak that include victories over Charles Oliveira, Dustin Poirier, Dennis Siver and most recently against Jeremy Stephens. Violent stoppages ended the proceedings in four of those six contests, which greatly helped his ascent to the upper echelon of the featherweight rankings.
Swanson was quick to admit that McGregor's gift for gab is a useful talent to acquire in the fight game, but that should not overshadow his performances inside the octagon.
"I'm a trendsetter," he added. "He wants to be me. I could learn stuff from him in terms of hyping myself but that's not my personality. I've been fortunate enough to do it my way. I don't hype myself into something I'm not. I let my fighting do the talking."
Although he could see several other competitors capable of becoming champions in the division, he doubts that McGregor will ever become one of those select few.
"I definitely feel like maturity and patience has really helped me. I think Poirier is another guy who could potentially become a champion. I feel he has what it takes because he constantly learns. I honestly don't think Conor McGregor will ever be a champion."
UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs. Brandao takes place Saturday night at The O2 Arena in Dublin, Ireland.