Swanson met Choi on the main card of Saturday’s UFC 206 in Toronto. This was a 145-pound bout that pitted a seasoned veteran in Swanson against a rising, promising prospect in Choi. Many thought this was a great way to catapult Choi’s young UFC career, having him pick up a win over a big name in the 145-pound division.
However, that wasn’t in Swanson’s plans.
“They were giving him the opportunity for him to shine,” Swanson said at the UFC 206 post-fight conference. “I felt like he was getting a lot of hype, and I see why. There are some great Korean fighters, he’s definitely a talent, he’s fresh meat, and in the featherweight division, all the the guys at the top have been at the top so long and it’s nice for them to get some new guys coming in. I can see why they would want him to be right up in the mix, but I just felt like I wasn’t going to let him make a name out of himself off of me. He can do it to somebody else, just not me.”
The 33-year-old Swanson felt that Choi and many people thought that he wasn’t as good as he used to be, and that gave him extra motivation to come out and prove otherwise. Swanson was also offended that he came in as a heavy underdog despite having more experience and being ranked higher than his opponent Choi.
“I was the No. 4-ranked guy, I know this guy had a lot of hype, but I’m the veteran, I’ve been around,” Swanson said. “I caught a glimpse of the odds, and I think I was a [+200], Doo Ho Choi was at a -300, so I mean 3 to 1 underdog is pretty ridiculous to me. I know he had a lot of hype but I took offense to that.”
Motivated and out to prove people he’s still at the top of the featherweight mountain, Swanson delivered a performance to remember. Both Choi and Swanson had one of the best fights of 2016, and rightfully so each won a $50,000 bonus in Fight of the Night awards. But it was Swanson who shinned the brightest that night, as she looked as sharp as ever, defeating “The Korean Superboy” in a unanimous decision.
Although the outcome was not a surprise for Swanson, He was surprised by the way Choi absorbed countless fight-ending blows, along with his speed on the feet.
“I was definitely surprised,” Swanson said. “I was surprised in his quickness, I thought that I’d be a lot faster than him. He was getting me to bite on some of his fakes and thats the reason why I switched my game plan, and definitely his toughness. When I started giving it to him, I couldn’t believe how fast he was recovering, and he’s definitely got heart. I’ll be a fan of his forever.”
After his war with Choi, Swanson is looking to take a break and enjoy the holidays with his family, but wants his return to be exclusively for big fights.
“I don't care, I just want a bight fight,” Swanson said when asked who’s next for him. “I think that I deserve it. I’ve been here along time, just stop doubting me.”