If there's one thing that's more painful to listen to in mixed martial arts than a fighter who is boring on the mic, it's a fighter who tries to force phony trash talk.
Cub Swanson understands this, so he's not about to let others make him into someone he's not. So even though he was criticized for not making a bold statement that he wants a UFC featherweight title shot after his recent victory over Jeremy Stephens, the Jackson's MMA fighter remains comfortable with being true to himself.
"I'm not a big fan of the WWE coming over into our sport and everyone making a show of themselves," Swanson said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "It's not that, it doesn't bother me, its good for some guys, but that's just me, its not my personality, I told myself a long time ago I'm not gonna sell myself out, I'm not gonna sell my soul to be something I'm not. If I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it my way."
Swanson, on a six-fight win streak, is the tentative next fight in line for a title shot after the Jose Aldo-Chad Mendes fight in October, but he isn't going to put on a dog-and-pony show just to make some critics happy.
"I'm not going to beg anyone else and say ‘please please Dana give me the title shot,'" Swanson said. "Because its like, I'm showing up, I'm fighting in great fashion. I believe the fans like my style. That should be all. I let my fighting do the talking, I don't have to put on great show and dance to make it bigger than it is."
As it turns out, there's another fighter in the featherweight division who doesn't talk empty smack, but stays highly popular with the fans due to the way brings the action in the cage: Frankie Edgar. The former lightweight champion has reinvented his career at 145 pounds, and he believes a bout with Swanson makes sense. Swanson is happy to return the favor.
"I'm getting older," Swanson said. "I want to fight the big fights, I feel like I deserve to do that. Frankie Edgar is a big name, as long as we could get that fight on a big fight like a FOX card, I'd be up for it."
Partially, of course, this is because a potential title bout is in the air. Swanson was out an entire year before his unanimous decision win over Stephens, in part because he was waiting on a title fight which never quite materialized.
But with the Aldo-Mendes fight, originally set for August, pushed back for 10 weeks, and no guarantees on what will emerge in its wake, Swanson understands he can't risk sitting around forever.
"Basically I earned the title shot a couple times now," Swanson said. "But the problem is I've been the odd man out every time. They keep telling me to wait, wait, I ended up waiting a whole year, I got Jeremy Stephens. Tough guy, way better than that number that was next to his name. To wait out a whole year again, I just don't want to do that.
"The problem is I'm not guaranteed the title shot," Swanson said. ‘I'm told, but there are no guarantees, because, what if Mendes beats Aldo? I just feel like they're going to give him an immediate rematch, like every longtime champion. So then I'm going to be asked out again. Another thing is, what if Aldo wins and gets injured? It's like I'm waiting a year and a half. So I think the best thing for me, as long as there is a big fight, lets do it."
Swanson and Poirier have gone to battle, with Swanson defeating Poirier via decision in London last year. While Swanson feels Poirier is far more talented than McGregor, he also wonders if Poirier can avoid falling into McGregor's trap.
"He's definitely way more talented than Conor. I fear that he might get emotional too. Conor's been lucky that all his opponents have been mentally weak or a little emotional, where all that hype gets to them and he's been able to feed off that and win."
Meanwhile, Swanson believes McGregor's talk has the potential to lead to a mighty tumble.
"He's got to live up to the hype," Swanson said. "He's creating the hype. He's done well so far living up to it. Eventually, he's going to get knocked off that high pedestal he's building for himself. That's not something I'd like to be around for. I fight for myself and I think he's trying to put on this whole show and dance. I think it is going to be bad for him some day."