If you found yourself amazed Dooho Choi went the distance in his memorable UFC 206 featherweight showdown with Cub Swanson, you weren’t alone.
Swanson himself was astounded by the amount of punishment Choi was able to withstand during the bout, which is widely considered the best three-round fight of 2016.
And while Swanson took the unanimous decision, he wonders why neither the referee nor Choi’s corner stopped the bout.
“I knew I was doing a lot of damage and I wish his corner would have thrown in the towel,” Swanson said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “Especially in the third, I could see it in his face, he was in there with all heart. He’s a young, talented fighter taking damage like that.”
At one point, Swanson found himself subconsciously turning his head toward the referee to see if the bout was going to be waved off.
“There were a few times hitting him with flurries where I was like ‘Jesus,’ I turned my head for a second [toward the referee] and was thinking, like, ‘are you going to stop this?’ When you look back, you think he’s already there, and I was like ‘man, he won’t go down.’”
And it wasn’t for a lack of effort, either, as Swanson said he was going out of his way to hit Choi with everything except the kitchen sink.
“The crazy thing is, the amount of times I’ve broken my hands and I’ve been doing this 14 years and you get a little arthritis and you ache and you hit the bags over and over and over, so if I’m going to do power on the bag I use bigger gloves. It’s a padded bag and I don’t hit it that hard. I was hitting him with everything I had and it was tripping me out.”
The veteran JacksonWink featherweight admits that if roles were reversed, he wouldn’t have wanted the fight stopped on his behalf, using his loss to Max Holloway as an example. But he also believes that cornermen in general should become more proactive about protecting their fighters.
“I think that should be more of a thing, honestly,” Swanson said. “You look at my fight with Holloway, I don’t even tell my corner I broke my hand and I broke my jaw and I fought three rounds. That’s just what I do, in my mind I’m thinking I can still win this, I can still win this. That’s your thing is to never give up.
“You almost need somebody to say, look, another day, in boxing that happens all the time. The coaches will say I’ll give you one more round, if it looks the same I’m not going to allow you to keep going out and taking damage. On one hand, he was still in the fight, but on the other hand, at the end of the fight I went to pick him up and he didn’t even seem like he knew where he was. I was like, I let go and I was kind of confused and they pulled me away. He was out of it.”