Saturday night was a tough one for UFC featherweight veteran Cub Swanson.
After piecing together an impressive four-fight winning run that had him on the cusp of title contention, Swanson was ousted from his enviable spot in the UFC featherweight queue by the undefeated Brian Ortega and a sneaky, nasty second-round guillotine choke.
But it sounds like the day that preceded the frustrating night wasn’t exactly a smooth one either.
Speaking to the gathered MMA media after the fight, Swanson revealed that he had been unwell and, as a result, stressed out from the moment he rose on Saturday morning.
“It was a stressful day,” said Swanson. “I woke up a little sick this morning. I didn’t really want to tell my coaches.”
And Swanson thinks he knows exactly how, why and when he caught the bug in question. According to the fighter, his illness was the result of a rather bizarre interaction with a fan.
“The funniest thing happened,” said Swanson, who was more good-humoured about the incident than most would have been. “Some guy walks up to me in the lobby, and he goes, ‘Hey, take a picture with my daughter,’ and he shoves her in my face. I was like, ‘all right.’ She was like screaming and crying. And she wouldn’t stay with me, so I hand her back after we took a picture together(via MMAJunkie).”
“He was like, ‘Oh yeah, I was going to go to open workouts, but my daughter is deathly sick,'” Swanson said. “I was like, ‘Dude.'”
“So I think that’s what got me. So I woke up this morning, and I was pretty stressed out all day. I just felt awful all day.”
Those are less than ideal issues to contend with only hours from such an important clash. It didn’t appear as though Swanson was trying to make excuses, however.
“When I started warming up I felt really good, you know? A lot better,” added the fighter. “I told my coaches, look let’s just do a light warm-up. I had an amazing camp and I knew once I started to flow I could get through it – I know tomorrow’s going to be rough – but we did it. It was awesome, as far as feeling my flow out there and just being a little more calm and picking my shots. I felt like I was picking him apart and feeling my flow from the get. I thought it was one of my best performances, until getting caught.”
Indeed, Swanson did look sharp and fluid out there. He landed some nice body shots early and started to find Ortega’s head with increasing regularity towards the end of the first round. Ortega did nearly finish him with an anaconda choke in the embers of that opening stanza, but Swanson quickly got back on track at the beginning of the second and really looked to be finding his rhythm.
His success eventually inspired Ortega to change the terms of engagement, however.
After getting tagged with a couple of heavy shots, ‘T-City’ pushed Swanson against the fence and looked for the takedown but subsequently switched upstairs to secure the guillotine. Swanson held out as long as he could, but eventually tapped.
“I felt like I was going to die,” said Swanson of those final milliseconds in the choke, adding a chuckle that only a fighter could tag onto the end of such a sentence.
You can watch Swanson’s entire post-fight media scrum below…