Cub Swanson eyes featherweight return, despite bantamweight confidence: ‘I could have made some adjustments’

COSTA MESA, Calif. – The first time Cub Swanson steps into the UFC cage in 2023 it’ll probably be at featherweight.

When fight fans most recently saw Swanson (28-13 MMA, 18-12 UFC), it was in October at bantamweight, his divisional debut. Swanson was finished with leg kicks by Jonathan Martinez.

While a part of him wishes he could stick around at 135 pounds to prove doubters wrong, Swanson concluded recently that featherweight likely makes the most sense for him at this point in his career. He hopes to make his UFC return in August.

“I’ve been back in the lab right here at UFC Gym in Costa Mesa,” Swanson told MMA Junkie Radio. “I’m just trying to get back in shape and have fun with it. But I’m looking to fight in probably August. I’m hoping to fight before my kids’ birthdays. That’s important to me. But you don’t always get what you want, but that’s what I’m trying to do. I’ll probably end up doing featherweight, doing 145.

“I was really annoyed that people were like, ‘You should’ve never dropped.’ It made me want to stay at bantamweight and do it better, which I know I could have. I know I could have made some adjustments. I think I’m not going to be doing this forever, so 145, I know the weight class. I think it will be easier for me and my family to do that weight class.”

Swanson, 39, acknowledges he’s in the later stages of his career. A dad, a gym owner, and fighter manager, Swanson has his hands full even when he’s not fighting. Going forward, he’s OK with intermittent competition.

“I just don’t need to fight that often,” Swanson said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’m winding down on my career. I have some injuries anyway I was trying to fix. Things are getting better for me now. I wanted to make sure I had a routine before I said I wanted to fight. I always try to get my ducks in a row before I ask for a fight.”

During a year in which the UFC celebrates its 30th anniversary, Swanson approaches 19 years as a professional MMA fighter – something he is fully appreciative of and does not take for granted. He’s soaking it all in.

“I’m super proud to be in the sport that long,” Swanson said. “When I came in the sport, I was such a fan. I just wanted to learn the sport, learn the history, and to now get all the respect of all these old fighters who I looked up to, they see me on their level. That kind of blows my mind, being accepted into the Hall of Fame. It just makes me feel fortunate to be a part of the sport. It’s really helped me change my life and be a better person. Now, it’s really cool to share that knowledge with other people and help the sport continue to evolve. I’m proud to be a part of it and I’m excited to see where it goes from here.”