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Cub Swanson not renewing UFC contract after Ortega fight: ‘I want to get paid more’

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Cub Swanson has no plans in renewing his UFC contract after his upcoming fight with Brian Ortega.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Swanson vs Lobov Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

For six years, Cub Swanson has been one of the top contenders in the UFC’s featherweight division. But even with his current number four standing in the company’s official rankings, he feels he has never gotten what is due him.

Speaking on a recent episode of ESPN’s Five Rounds podcast, the 33-year-old Swanson revealed his plan to no longer renew his expiring UFC contract after his upcoming fight against Brian Ortega.

“It’s a power move. Of course, I want to get paid more,” Swanson said. “The thing people don’t understand is that I’ve got to a point where I’m making good money and it’s enough to live on, but it’s not retirement money. Not even close.”

"I've been doing this for 13 years and I'm in the prime of my career, but at some point it's going to dip off, and I'd like to walk away before I start having really bad performances -- with enough money in my account to make smart investments and do the right things. I just want that opportunity."

Throughout his career, Swanson has faced some of the division’s toughest top fighters, but never had the chance to fight for the title and ultimately earn more money. This, was the one thing he wanted, especially at this stage of his career.

“I just want that opportunity. [Max Holloway fighting Frankie Edgar] is the 20th title fight since I’ve been in this division,” Swanson said. “I’ve been in the top tier of guys my entire career. It’s a little frustrating seeing somebody like Frankie, who is great, get tons of title fights. I just don’t understand it. I wanted some leverage for that [in my contract]. I’m next. They’re always saying, ‘We can’t guarantee anything,’ and it’s like, c’mon, yes, you can.”

For Swanson, his refusal to sign a new long-term contract with the UFC may have been the reason why he was deprived of a fight against either Jose Aldo or Ricardo Lamas, and instead got a lower-ranked opponent in Ortega.

"My last couple fights, I feel they're showing that they see me more as a gatekeeper, having all these young up-and-comers fight me. I've got no problem knocking them off. To say I'm getting paid the same to fight Aldo or Frankie, as Brian Ortega? I'm like, 'OK, I'll take this youngster, who hasn't been in the five-round wars yet,’” Swanson said.

"Unfortunately for Ortega, I'm pretty pissed off for this situation and I'm going to take it out on him."

Swanson and Ortega are scheduled to fight on December 9th in Fresno, California.