It’s become one of the most iconic images of 2016. Cub Swanson, right after the horn sounded to finish his epic encounter with Dooho Choi at UFC 206, raised his arms to the skies will sitting on the mat, as an exhausted Choi laid flat on his back.
Swanson’s not often one to make such dramatic gestures. But after finishing one of the greatest fights you’ll ever see an earning a unanimous decision, the JacksonWink veteran from Palm Springs, Calif. said the move expressed a mixture of gratitude and relief.
“It was half me saying thank you, Swanson said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, “and half me thinking ‘thank God it’s over.’”
Swanson fed off the energy of the sold-out Toronto crowd, who started off chanting for Choi in the opening round, swung to Cub as the fight progressed, and broke out in “ole, ole” chants as the battle reached its closing moments. So Swanson wanted to give a little something back.
“I was just acknowledging the crowd,” Swanson said. “I’m not one of the guys who talks a lot, I don’t enjoy that, I’ve always believed in just going out there and putting on the best show possible. I understand I’m an entertainer and a fighter as well. I was just trying to give the crowd an acknowledgement, just give the thumbs up or something.”
All in all, if made for a night the popular featherweight will never forget.
“It’s fun for me,” Swanson said. “If I’m not having fun with it, why am I doing it. With 18,000 people on their feet screaming, that was the biggest crowd I ever fought in front of, and so, it was amazing, just the energy and the crowd.”