With a fight this weekend against Artem Lobov in the main event of UFC Fight Night 108, Cub Swanson has his immediate future in view. But beyond that, he’s as open-minded about the possibilities as the champion who was recently stripped of his title in the featherweight division.
Swanson is a boxing fan who has sparred with many boxers throughout his years a mixed martial artist. He says that if Conor McGregor lands the colossal boxing match with Floyd Mayweather (which looks like he will), he wouldn’t mind being on that card, too.
“I would love for there to be a boxing versus MMA card,” Swanson said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “I think it would be awesome. I think MMA guys doing boxing is hard, you know, but it’s exciting and people want to see it. It’s almost like when MMA first started, when it was style versus style. So, I would love to be in on it, and I would love to see it.”
Swanson joins a growing cast of MMA fighters who’ve expressed interest in stepping in the boxing ring. Anderson Silva has long coveted a bout with Roy Jones Jr., and recently English light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa made it known he’d love to box his countryman David Haye if he can’t get a title shot next against Daniel Cormier.
As for who Swanson would like to fight specifically, he did have a name in mind — but was ultimately open to suggestions.
“I mean, I had called out [Paulie] Malignaggi,” Swanson said during the interview. “He said he would fight me, but I would fight anybody. I spar a lot of good guys. I’m not afraid.”
Swanson admitted that the prospect of the current lightweight champion McGregor taking on the undefeated Mayweather has major allure. And as somebody who has stood in the ring and tried to out-fox boxers he doesn’t necessarily like McGregor’s chances of winning. Then again, he doesn’t see it as a sure thing that Mayweather will defeat McGregor.
“Only in the fact that [McGregor]’s so awkward,” he said. “He would have to really train for it and be ready, and he’d have to land big shots early. I’d give him some chance, but I don’t think he’s going to win.”
Swanson has been vocal about MMA fighters venturing into the boxing ring, and he explained why on the show.
“I’ve chimed in a lot because I felt that if anybody should be doing a boxing match that’s been an MMA fighting, it’d be me,” he said. “I don’t think anybody’s done more rounds. But I’ll tell you though, the one thing that keeps me able to hang with all these guys at a high level is the fact that I keep them guessing. When I try to box like them, within two rounds they’ll just figure me out and just out box me.
“But if I box them and I switch to southpaw, and I’m throwing big shots, and I clinch with them and I stick and move, and I’m fighting on the inside like a dirty boxer, and I just keep switching it, throwing a lot of things they’re not used to seeing — that’s the way that I dominate rounds.
“That being said, that’s going to be the biggest ‘what if’ for Conor fighting him.”
Swanson is coming off a Fight of the Year against the young Korean prospect Doo Ho Choi at UFC 206, a fight that he prevailed in via unanimous decision. He’s now won three fights in a row after he dropped a couple of fights against Frankie Edgar and Max Holloway in late-2015/early-2015.
Asked directly if he thought Mayweather would win against McGregor, Swanson leaned that way — but left the door open a little bit for surprises.
“That would be the safe money bet, that Floyd beats him,” he said. “But it’s very possible that Conor throws some real awkward stuff and if he lands something big it could kind of throw Mayweather off his game.”