Cub Swanson ‘blown away’ by UFC Hall of Fame induction: ‘I’ve invested so much in this sport’

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The latest edition of the UFC Hall of Fame Class of 2022 was as much of a surprise to Cub Swanson as it was to the rest of the MMA world.

The promotion announced at UFC 273 that Swanson’s iconic brawl with Doo Ho Choi is set to be inducted into the fighting wing of the UFC Hall of Fame later this summer. Swanson memorably defeated Choi in a three-round attrition war at UFC 206 in 2016.

Swanson, 38, reflected on the honor during Wednesday’s episode of MMA hour, admitting he had “no idea” the news was coming before it was revealed during the UFC 273 broadcast.

“It was pretty funny,” Swanson said on MMA hour. “My wife Kenda [Perez] was in combat, she was working on the event, so I had the three children from Thursday to Sunday. And so on Saturday the community that I live in, because there’s a lot of kids, had a little Easter thing, and so I took the kids and they were going crazy eating candy, and so me and my brother were both exhausted because he came to help. He fell asleep on the couch, and I was sitting there and I was like, ‘Man, I should take a shower before the main card starts. I’m tired.’

“I got a random text, then I started getting more texts, and then my wife said, ‘Hey, they’re doing like a thing on you,’ because she was sitting in the front row. So I turned it back on and was a little blown away. I didn’t expect it. I got a little emotional. It was nice.”

Swanson said the first congratulatory text actually came from former UFC commentator and WEC veteran Brian Stann. Swanson didn’t have Stann’s number at the time, so he initially assumed it was simply mistaken identity when he received a note congratulating him on his induction into the Temple. of fame. But the texts kept coming.

“I was a little emotional,” Swanson said. “I just feel like I’ve invested so much in this sport, and I’ve just been trying to be an advocate for the sport literally from the day I started. This sport, it still wasn’t popular, he hadn’t been on TV yet. I was a little early The ultimate fighter, the original, and so when I started fighting, people assumed that I was still in trouble, that I had been in trouble when I was young, and that I had to educate people me- even, like, ‘No, it’s not cage fighting. It is mixed martial arts. It’s a legitimate sport. And I’ve been doing that my whole career, just trying to get fans, one person at a time.

“I have spent almost two decades in this sport, and 15 years at the highest level. And just that little recognition, it was pretty huge for me. It was as if the sport was saying thank you to me.

Swanson’s battle with Choi is an all-time classic. The two featherweights traded heavy leather for 15 minutes of non-stop action, combining 209 groundstrokes, with each man close to finishing the other multiple times. In the end, Swanson emerged victorious in a fight that earned a bevy of “Fight of the Year” accolades for 2016.

“What’s funny is that the weirdest thing about it [fight] what always stuck with me was the way people looked at me [afterward] when I came out of the octagon,” Swanson said. “Because they were kind of carrying me and helping me down the sidewalk, and people were trying to grab me, but I just remember all the UFC employees, all the arena staff – I just remember them looking at me in the weirdest way. Just kind of like, slack-jawed, looking at me. And I didn’t understand, because it was just a fight, you know?

“I knew I gave it my all, but it’s a bit hard to explain I guess. Like someone’s super famous [who] walked through a room and people weren’t expecting to see them, like that kind of vibe. I just remember it was the weirdest post-fight exit, where I was just trying to get back to my room and catch my breath, but the way everyone was looking at me on the way to the room , I was like, ‘This is weird. Like, what’s going on? And then it didn’t really make sense until later – like, I had everyone’s attention.

“I think it was just the perfect storm, the way this fight went,” Swanson continued.

“To me, it means so much more on so many levels. I said it before, that’s when I found out I was going to be a dad that night. So it was the biggest crowd I ever fought in front of, it was a back and forth fight. A lot of fans tell me that if they’re trying to get someone to watch MMA for the first time, it’s a fight they’re putting together for them. So I’m not surprised they’re fighting, but yeah, I guess I’m surprised it’s so soon, but I’m grateful.

Swanson recently signed a new four-fight contract with the UFC which he says could represent his last run before hanging up the gloves for good. Although he never competed for a WEC or UFC title in his 15 years under the Zuffa umbrella, “Killer Cub” was still a top contender for most of his career, and has always resonated with the fanbase in a special way as an athlete with one of the most exciting fighting styles in the sport.

Of course, it also takes two to tango. Swanson said Wednesday he hasn’t heard from his former UFC 206 dance partner since the promotion was announced, but he hopes to share a moment with Choi ahead of the Hall of Fame ceremony. the UFC this summer in Las Vegas.

“I wish he was there. I would love to see him, shake his hand and spend some time with him,” Swanson said of Choi.

“I know there is a language barrier there, but there is no language barrier between respect.”


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