For Cub Swanson, the idea of becoming UFC featherweight champion means more than avenging a tough-luck loss to Jose Aldo.
Swanson likely cemented his status as the next contender for the title by winning his sixth straight bout Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 44 over Jeremy Stephens. For now, Aldo has a title defense vs. Chad Mendes set for August.
“I want to fight Aldo,” said Swanson, on the FOX Sports 1 post-fight show. “I want to be the guy to dethrone the legend.
“But I want the gold, so I’ll fight whoever the champion is.”
Swanson was defeated by a flying knee delivered from Aldo in the WEC during the opening moments of their fight. He also lost to Mendes inside the WEC cage. Since a submission defeat to previous No. 1 contender Ricardo Lamas, Swanson has put together his impressive win streak in the 145-pound division.
Entering his fight with Stephens, who was unbeaten at featherweight, Swanson knew the pressure was on to perform. He made sure to add a new weapon to his arsenal – a liver kick – that turned out to be a major difference-maker.
“I study a lot of tape and noticed a trend that everybody gets dropped by that kick. So I tried it,” he said. “I feel great about the win. It was great to have a battle every round. I kept telling myself to do better each round.”