Emotional Cub Swanson, Now UFC Hall of Famer, Says He Always Felt Like He Owed the Fans

Las Vegas, NV — Cub Swanson is now a member of the UFC Hall of Fame.

The popular featherweight, a former standout in the WEC, has long been a fan favorite among MMA enthusiasts. But in a sport filled with trials and tribulations, ups and downs, there were times where it seemed like this sort of achievement might not be in the cards for “Killer” Cub.

“It’s been tough because I felt like I deserved the respect a long time ago because of my performances,” he told Cageside Press at Thursday’s 2022 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Swanson was inducted into the Fight Wing, for his 2016 classic with Doo-Ho Choi at UFC 206 in Toronto. “But just because of the ups and downs of the sport, the setbacks, people go ‘oh he’s not what we thought he was.'”

“I can’t tell you how many people, they’ve been the next big thing, and those people have come and fought for a title and then retired, and I’m still here. And then one day people are calling me a legend and people are giving me the respect, and I’m like ‘man, thank you, I appreciate that,'” an emotional Swanson continued. “Not like I feel that I deserve all that, just the acknowledgement of the 18 years, the broken bones, the pain that I felt to get to here—.”

There’s really not much more that needed to be said. Swanson’s face said it all. Want to be a fighter? The pain is very, very real. But Swanson continued, saying that “I’ve always just tried to be me, I tried to give it 100% every time. I love the fans, and I felt like they always deserved that. The fights that I lost and I didn’t give good performances, they haunted me. I always felt like I owed them.”

Cub Swanson, UFC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2022 Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Earlier, Swanson said that of all his fights, his UFC 206 classic with Choi would be the one he himself picked to represent him in the Hall of Fame.

“I think it is this one. I have so many favorites for different reasons, but the way the fans remember it, the way it meant to them— I’ve never had a fight that really blew people away,” he explained. “And I didn’t understand it until later, but I remember ever since I walked out of the octagon, walked back stage, I’ve never had everyone’s attention, like literally everyone, where the people were just staring at me. And I thought it was the strangest thing, I was like ‘did I do something wrong?’

“I didn’t understand it til later. And then the following week I went to a UFC [event] and every single person told me how great it was, and it was like big name fighters too. That to me is the highest honor. Like today, I saw Nogueira at the PI [UFC Performance Institute], and he was telling me about all my fights, and how he was a fan and I was like ‘stop it, who told you to stay that?’ It was wild.”

Watch our full interview with featherweight legend and now UFC Hall of Famer Cub Swanson above.


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