There really is nothing wrong with the term “gatekeeper.” The problem comes from how many have viewed that role.
Cub Swanson has fought the best of the best over his MMA career, going one-on-one with UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway, former titleholders Frankie Edgar, Jose Aldo and Jens Pulver, and contenders like Ricardo Lamas and Chad Mendes.
However, of Swanson’s seven career losses, six came at the hands of those mentioned above.
For “Killer,” the chance has always been there; he just hasn’t been able to cash in.
This Saturday night, Swanson meets Brian Ortega in the main event of UFC Fight Night 123. And while Ortega might not be in the same class as those six previous opponents for Swanson, the bout is just as important.
With a win, his streak will move to five in a row, including back-to-back main event wins. When you are constantly in the headline fight, you get the chance to make an impact on the ratings and UFC bosses.
Swanson’s shown his skills in taking care of Artem Lobov, Doo Ho Choi, Tatsuya Kawajiri and Hacran Dias since his 2015 third-round submission loss to Holloway. Prior to that fight, he was submitted in the fifth-round by Edgar.
As impressive as this current streak is, Swanson showed why some believed he could be a champion by taking out George Roop, Ross Pearson, Charles Oliveira, Dustin Poirier, Dennis Siver and Jeremy Stephens between 2012-14. The wins over Roop, Pearson, Oliveira and Siver – which you can see in the video above – all came via finish.
If Swanson can find an opening and deliver his ninth knockout or even pick up his eighth career submission, he could find himself at the top of the featherweight division’s list of title contenders once again here in 2018.
And for those wondering what that seventh loss was in Swanson’s career, that came in his pro debut in 2004 to Shannon Gugerty, which he later avenged with a finish in 2006.