LAS VEGAS -- Cub Swanson, winner of four consecutive UFC featherweight fights, was frustrated when it was announced "The Korean Zombie," Chan Sung Jung, would step in for an injured Anthony Pettis and meet champion Jose Aldo Jr. at UFC 163.
"Really??!!! The Korean Zombie gets the title shot?! ... Lame" the Palm Springs, Calif. native tweeted at the time.
But on Saturday, Swanson plans on placing his case in the hands of the fans. If Swanson gets past Dennis Siver at UFC 162 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena -- which is no small task -- Swanson has visualized bypassing company brass and taking it straight to the people.
"I've really been thinking about that a lot in my [hotel] room," Swanson told reporters at Wednesday's UFC 162 open workouts at the XS nightclub. "I feel like, if I get this opportunity, I'm going to ask the fans to decide. I feel like my work speaks for itself."
As Swanson explained it, he understands he hasn't put much work into the public relations end of the game over the years, preferring to focus on the Xs and Os of the sport. But after slowly rebuilding his career after an eight-second WEC knockout loss to Aldo in 2009, Swanson (19-5) understands that winning over the hearts and minds of the audience is a more important factor in getting to the top than he previously recognized.
"I'm not the biggest media guy," Swanson said. "I just like fighting, man. I try to do my best and I try to let my work speak for itself, so, I feel like if the public and the fans want to see me fight for the title, whoever they want to see me fight, then that's what I need to do. That's my job."
While Swanson obviously has to keep his focus on the formidable Siver, he's not afraid to admit he's still a bit ticked off that Jung got the shot at Aldo.
According to Swanson, not only will "The Korean Zombie" get smoked by Aldo next month, but Jung's originally scheduled opponent, Ricardo Lamas, would have run through him, as well.
"It kind of burst my bubble a little bit," Swanson said of not getting the title shot. "But [Jung's] not ready. He'll get exposed. Ricardo Lamas would have beat him 100 percent. Easy. Easy for him. So, that's fine. I'll get my chance."
Swanson was asked about 23-year-old Charles Oliveira, who meets Frankie Edgar in another featherweight bout, getting co-main event billing, while Swanson vs. Siver is lower on the main card. Swanson, after all, scored a first-round knockout of Oliveira at UFC 152.
Swanson said it was yet another reminder that he needs to connect with the fans.
"It shows me where I need to work," Swanson said. "In popularity. For a little while, I kind of shunned away from the media and focused on my skill set and performing. I feel like I'm doing well, so it's my chance to get out there and share my story. If the fans don't know about me, they won't care about me and I won't have a chance to fight for a title. That's the missing piece."