Cub Swanson’s first loss in over two years couldn’t have come at a worse time.
The 34-year-old featherweight veteran entered Saturday’s UFC Fresno main event with a four-fight winning streak and the knowledge that this would be the last fight of his current contract. Unfortunately for “Killer Cub,” his successful run came to a halt when opponent Brian Ortega submitted him with a guillotine choke in the second round.
With 22 combined fights in the UFC and the now-defunct World Extreme Cagefighting, Swanson can claim more appearances for Zuffa than any other featherweight. Swanson has fought for the company since March 2007 and following his loss to Ortega, UFC president Dana White showed appreciation for his efforts and expressed a desire to start negotiating with Swanson as soon as possible.
“I yelled up to him, too (from cageside), ‘Let’s get a deal done,’” White said in a post-fight media scrum. “Cub’s been around forever, he’s a great kid, and I like him and hopefully we can get something done with him. And I can keep him happy. I want him to be happy, so we’ll see.”
Prior to Saturday’s setback, Swanson had won four consecutive unanimous decisions including a thrilling Fight of the Year candidate against Doo Ho Choi at UFC 206 last December. That triumph raised interest in Swanson possibly receiving his first major title shot, but after defeating Artem Lobov in his next outing he found himself booked against Ortega instead.
Swanson also spoke to the media after his fight and he admitted that he’s aware of the perception that he seems to fall just short in major fights. He also wondered how much leverage he would have now that his win streak is over.
“I don’t know,” Swanson said. “It stings, it’s like, it just gets thrown back in your face, ‘Oh, you just don’t win the big ones,’ so it’s like what am I gonna say? I’m sure we’ll negotiate.
“Dana said, ‘Let’s make a deal right now,’ he was outside the cage. But it’s like, do I gotta crawl back and say, ‘OK, I’ll take that deal you offered me that I said ‘no’ to’? So we’ll see. I’m going to enjoy family over Christmas, all that, and try not to be in low spirits because I thought I fought great, I just didn’t get the ending I wanted.”