Kevin Luke Swanson (born November 2, 1983), known professionally as Cub Swanson, is an American professional mixed martial artist, currently competing in the Featherweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). A professional since 2004, Swanson holds the most post-fight bonus awards in division history with eight, including his WEC tenure he has been awarded "Fight of the Night" honors ten times.
|Born||Kevin Luke Swanson|
November 2, 1983
Palm Springs, California, United States
|Residence||Palm Springs, California, United States|
|Height||5 ft 7 in (170 cm)|
|Weight||146–156 lb (66–71 kg; 10 st 6 lb–11 st 2 lb)|
|Division||Featherweight (2006–present) |
|Reach||70 in (178 cm)|
|Fighting out of||Palm Springs, California, United States|
|Team||Jackson Wink MMA (until 2018) |
The Treigning Lab (2017–2019)
UFC GYM Costa Mesta (2017–present)
|Trainer||Greg Jackson |
|Rank||Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Rigan Machado|
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Children||Royal Rae Swanson |
King Cub Swanson
Saint Cub Swanson
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Swanson was born and raised mostly in Palm Springs, California, on November 2, 1983. He had a Swedish-American father and a Mexican mother. His widely used nickname Cub originates from his early childhood, as his brother could not say Swanson's real name and opted to call him Cub. Swanson has two older brothers Steve and Aaron, and two sisters of which one has Down syndrome. Swanson's father died of melanoma three months after he was born. Because of his mother's heavy grieving and subsequent drug addiction, Swanson and his siblings were then adopted and raised by their father's cousin. The adoptive family was religious so Swanson spent most of his early life in church. Swanson was also home-schooled for most of his young life. Swanson started playing soccer at the age of four, dreaming of professional career and playing in the World Cup. He and his oldest brother Steve succeeded well in soccer, winning majority of the AYSO tournaments they attended in their age divisions.
Eventually when Swanson was 14, his adoptive parents divorced and he returned to his mother who at the time had recovered from the addiction. Swanson then attended Cathedral City High School, along with future boxer Timothy Bradley. At the time, Swanson associated himself with local gangs and participated in many streets fights. He also drank alcohol and took recreational drugs. The police arrested Swanson and two of his friends for committing a house robbery. As a result, Swanson was placed in a juvenile detention center. He was released when he was 17 years old. At the age of 19, Swanson started working for United Cerebral Palsy, where he helped children with social disabilities. UFC fighter Joe Stevenson invited Swanson to train with him, which he accepted. This marked Swanson's transition into professional MMA.
Mixed martial arts careerEdit
On July 25, 2004, Swanson made his first professional fight. MMA was not sanctioned in California in 2004, so Swanson competed at Total Combat in Mexico. His opponent, Shannon Gugerty, submitted Swanson via Rear-Naked Choke. The fight lasted for just 30 seconds. Despite the loss, Swanson continued to compete in professional MMA fights. Swanson won nine fights before entering the WEC in 2007. This included a rematch with Gugerty in 2006. Other than TC, Swanson also competed in KOTC and BIB.
World Extreme CagefightingEdit
On his WEC debut on March 24, 2007, Swanson submitted Tommy Lee by guillotine choke. Swanson earned a disclosed pay of $6000. He next defeated Micah Miller at WEC 28 via unanimous decision. Swanson was scheduled to fight Jens Pulver in Pulvers 145lb debut, the fight was pushed back three months when Pulver sustained an injury in training camp; Swanson accused Pulver of trying to duck the fight, which Pulver denied. They finally met at WEC 31, with Swanson losing via guillotine choke. The fight only lasted 35 seconds and marked the end of Swanson's eleven fight winning streak.
Hiroyuki Takaya took on Swanson on December 3, 2008, at WEC 37. Swanson won via unanimous decision. Both fighters earned the Fight of the Night honors. This was Swanson's first official WEC award.
Swanson defeated John Franchi via submission on November 18 at WEC 44. The fight earned Swanson his second Fight of the Night honor. In his bout against Franchi, Swanson broke both of his hands.
Swanson faced Mackens Semerzier next on November 11 at WEC 52. He won the fight via split decision. The bout was an exciting back and forth affair that earned both fighters Fight of the Night honors.
Ultimate Fighting ChampionshipEdit
Swanson was expected to face Erik Koch on March 3, 2011 at UFC Live: Sanchez vs. Kampmann. However, Swanson pulled out of the bout due to an injury. Swanson vs. Koch was rescheduled to take place on July 2 at UFC 132. However, Swanson was forced out of the bout with another injury.
After just over a year out of action, Swanson returned to face Ricardo Lamas on November 12 at UFC on Fox 1. Swanson was the last WEC fighter imported from the WEC/UFC merger to debut in the UFC. He lost the fight via submission (arm triangle choke) in the second round.
In his second UFC fight, Swanson faced George Roop on January 28, 2012, at UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis. Prior the fight, Swanson said "I just really want to smash this kid". He boasted "I'm the more complete fighter and I have the tools to shut him down". Swanson won the fight via TKO in the second round.
Ross Pearson and Swanson went head-to-head on June 22 at UFC on FX 4. Swanson won the fight via TKO in the second round, earning him Knockout of the Night bonus. Swanson fought Charles Oliveira as an underdog on September 22 at UFC 152. Swanson won the fight by knockout in the first round. Swanson received a Knockout of the Night bonus.
Swanson was expected to face Dennis Siver on February 16, 2013, at UFC on Fuel TV: Barão vs. McDonald. However, Siver pulled out of the bout. Dustin Poirier took Siver's spot. Swanson won by unanimous decision. As of March 2013, Swanson was ranked the #10 Featherweight in the world by Sherdog and ranked #5 within the UFC. Swanson's bout with Dennis Siver was rescheduled for July 6, 2013, at UFC 162. Swanson won via TKO in the third round. The performance earned both participants Fight of the Night honors.
Swanson next faced Frankie Edgar on November 22 at UFC Fight Night 57. Prior the fight, UFC president Dana White promised that "If Cub Swanson wins this fight, we did tell him we would give him a title shot." "All I know is that," Swanson told Sherdog.com, "in my mind, I finish Frankie Edgar, that I'm getting that title shot. That's all that's on my mind.". Swanson lost the one-sided fight via submission in closing seconds of the fifth round.
Max Holloway challenged Swanson on April 18, 2015 at UFC on Fox 15. Swanson was out-struck in the first two rounds. Holloway then set up a guillotine choke in the third round, forcing Swanson to tap out. Following the fight, Swanson announced via Twitter that he had suffered a broken jaw and a broken right hand. The two-loss-streak made Swanson drop out as a title contender. "It's really hard to explain," said Swanson in an interview, "You want something so bad and it may come and it may not, you can go crazy doing all of that."
Swanson faced Tatsuya Kawajiri on August 6 at UFC Fight Night 92. "I've been around forever, he's been around forever, so we're both just looking for a win," said Swanson in an interview. During the fight, Swanson kneed Kawajiri to the head, which was illegal since Kawajiri was downed at the time. Referee John McCarthy paused the fight shortly but no points are deducted from Swanson. Swanson won the back and forth fight via unanimous decision.
Swanson fought with touted prospect Doo Ho Choi on December 10, 2016 at UFC 206. Swanson won the fight via unanimous decision. "I knew he (Choi) deserved the hype," said Swanson during the post-fight interview, "but he made a mistake calling me out. I wanted to prove to everyone that I've still got it. Don't write me off again." Both participants were awarded Fight of the Night and later was awarded Fight of the Year at the World MMA Awards.
Underdog Artem Lobov challenged Swanson to a fight on April 22, 2017 at UFC Fight Night 108. Swanson won the fight via unanimous decision . The fight broke the record for most significant strikes landed (209) in a UFC Featherweight bout and in a UFC Fight Night. It also came #4 in most significant strikes landed in a single bout. Subsequently, both participants were awarded a Fight of the Night awards. This was Swanson's sixth Fight of the Night bonus. He broke his hand for the 10th time in his career.
Swanson faced Brian Ortega on December 9, 2017 at UFC Fight Night 123. He lost the fight via submission in the second round. Despite the loss, Swanson earned his third consecutive (and fifth overall) Fight of the Night bonus award. The fight with Ortega also marked the last bout of his contract and albeit taking offers from a variety of promotions, he decided to re-sign with the UFC due to consistent drug testing by USADA.
Swanson faced Kron Gracie on October 12, 2019 at UFC on ESPN+ 19. The days leading to the bout saw a media clash between the fighters, as Swanson claimed several Brazilian jiu-jitsu gyms had refused him entry after learning he was going to fight a member of the Gracie family, to which Gracie answered supporting those views and criticizing Swanson's work ethic. Swanson won the fight via unanimous decision. This win earned him the Fight of the Night bonus award.
On December 12, 2019 Swanson competed at Quintet Ultra as part of Team WEC. In his bout with Jake Shields he tore his ACL, meniscus in his left knee. Swanson stated UFC paid his medical costs.
Swanson was briefly linked to a bout against Gavin Tucker on May 1, 2021 at UFC Fight Night 189. However, Tucker was tabbed as a short notice replacement to face Dan Ige at UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs. Muhammad instead. Swanson is now expected to face Giga Chikadze.
Many MMA media outlets say that Cub Swanson is one of the most entertaining MMA fighters. MMA junkie reported "Swanson's is as a man who will give you a gritty, exciting fight". Bloodyelbow.com comments "Cub's style tends to be wild, unpredictable, and very explosive". Swanson has 10 fight night bonuses for UFC/WEC featherweight bouts. This is the highest in combined divisional history. MMAfighting.com calls Swanson "an exciting fighter". MMA fans call Swanson's style as "Beautiful Destruction" 
Swanson is known for his creative striking. Many pundits cite Swanson's ducking roundhouse kick / cartwheel kick to the head as his most distinct move. Swanson often sets up with a left hook, then follow up with a ducking roundhouse kick to the head. This combination was used against Artem Lobov. In other cases, Swanson would throw a single ducking roundhouse kick with no set up, like in his fight with Ross Pearson and Doo Ho Choi.
Swanson's movements are very unorthodox. He tends to feint while punching, as exemplified in WEC 52. Swanson often switches stance after kicking, something which he did against Dennis Siver. He also puts a lot of weight into his punches. Weight shifts gives him more power but shifts him off balance. This makes Swanson susceptible to take downs and counters. Similarly, Swanson's stance switches make him vulnerable to leg kicks. Low kicks tend to disrupt his footwork.
The UFC acknowledges Swanson's ground game. In his fight with Doo Ho Choi and Dennis Siver, Swanson escaped from inferior positions. Despite this, 7 out of Swanson's 11 losses are by submission however since these losses he was highly praised for his takedown defence against world class jiu-jitsu fighter Kron Gracie at UFC Fight Night: Joanna vs. Waterson in 2019. Swanson stated on his UFC profile that Superman double wrist lock is his favorite move. 
Swanson began training MMA in 2003. His typical workout routine involves striking in the morning and cardio exercises in the afternoon. Grappling sessions take place at night. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu medalist Rigan Machado coaches Swanson's BJJ. Former boxing champion Joel Díaz teaches Swanson boxing.
Swanson also co-owns a UFC Gym in Costa Mesa with Michael Bisping. Swanson taught intermediate MMA classes at the UFC Gym on May 10, 2017. Classes included Boxing, kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. "As a native of Southern California," remarked Swanson on the UFC website,"I look forward to bringing this community, which is both near and dear to my heart, a myriad of amazing amenities and programs to help them TRAIN different and live a healthier lifestyle." Eventually, Swanson switched his own training camps solely to their gym.
Swanson married Kenda Perez on June 1, 2018. The two had their first child, Royal Rae Swanson, on August 21, 2017. Their identical twin sons, Saint Cub Swanson and King Cub Swanson, were born on September 2, 2018.
Steve Swanson, Cub Swanson's older brother, also competes in MMA. The two brothers train in and run their MMA gym Tru Gym together.
|2014||Kingdom||MMA fighter||Guest appearance in season 1 episode 1|
|2012||UFC Undisputed 3||Himself||Playable character|
|2014||EA Sports UFC||Himself||Playable character|
|2016||EA Sports UFC 2||Himself||Playable character|
|2018||EA Sports UFC 3||Himself||Playable character|
|2020||EA Sports UFC 4||Himself||Playable character|
Championships & accomplishmentsEdit
- Ultimate Fighting Championship
- Knockout of the Night (Two times) vs. Ross Pearson and Charles Oliveira
- Fight of the Night (Six times) vs. Dennis Siver, Jeremy Stephens, Doo Ho Choi, Artem Lobov, Brian Ortega, and Kron Gracie 
- Most fight night bonuses in UFC featherweight division history (8)
- 2016 Fight of the Year vs. Doo Ho Choi
- World Extreme Cagefighting
Mixed martial arts recordEdit
|Professional record breakdown|
|38 matches||27 wins||11 losses|
|Win||27–11||Daniel Pineda||KO (punches)||UFC 256||December 12, 2020||2||1:52||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||26–11||Kron Gracie||Decision (unanimous)||UFC Fight Night: Joanna vs. Waterson||October 12, 2019||3||5:00||Tampa, Florida, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Loss||25–11||Shane Burgos||Decision (split)||UFC Fight Night: Iaquinta vs. Cowboy||May 4, 2019||3||5:00||Ottawa, Ontario, Canada|
|Loss||25–10||Renato Moicano||Submission (rear-naked choke)||UFC 227||August 4, 2018||1||4:15||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Loss||25–9||Frankie Edgar||Decision (unanimous)||UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Lee||April 21, 2018||3||5:00||Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Loss||25–8||Brian Ortega||Submission (guillotine choke)||UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Ortega||December 9, 2017||2||3:22||Fresno, California, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||25–7||Artem Lobov||Decision (unanimous)||UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Lobov||April 22, 2017||5||5:00||Nashville, Tennessee, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||24–7||Doo Ho Choi||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 206||December 10, 2016||3||5:00||Toronto, Ontario, Canada||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||23–7||Tatsuya Kawajiri||Decision (unanimous)||UFC Fight Night: Rodríguez vs. Caceres||August 6, 2016||3||5:00||Salt Lake City, Utah, United States|
|Win||22–7||Hacran Dias||Decision (unanimous)||UFC on Fox: Teixeira vs. Evans||April 16, 2016||3||5:00||Tampa, Florida, United States|
|Loss||21–7||Max Holloway||Submission (guillotine choke)||UFC on Fox: Machida vs. Rockhold||April 18, 2015||3||3:58||Newark, New Jersey, United States|
|Loss||21–6||Frankie Edgar||Submission (neck crank)||UFC Fight Night: Edgar vs. Swanson||November 22, 2014||5||4:56||Austin, Texas, United States|
|Win||21–5||Jeremy Stephens||Decision (unanimous)||UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Stephens||June 28, 2014||5||5:00||San Antonio, Texas, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||20–5||Dennis Siver||KO (punches)||UFC 162||July 6, 2013||3||2:24||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||19–5||Dustin Poirier||Decision (unanimous)||UFC on Fuel TV: Barão vs. McDonald||February 16, 2013||3||5:00||London, England|
|Win||18–5||Charles Oliveira||KO (punch)||UFC 152||September 22, 2012||1||2:40||Toronto, Ontario, Canada||Catchweight (146.4 lb) bout; Oliveira missed weight. Knockout of the Night.|
|Win||17–5||Ross Pearson||TKO (punches)||UFC on FX: Maynard vs. Guida||June 22, 2012||2||4:14||Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States||Knockout of the Night.|
|Win||16–5||George Roop||TKO (punches)||UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis||January 28, 2012||2||2:22||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Loss||15–5||Ricardo Lamas||Submission (arm-triangle choke)||UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. dos Santos||November 12, 2011||2||2:16||Anaheim, California, United States|
|Win||15–4||Mackens Semerzier||Decision (split)||WEC 52||November 11, 2010||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Loss||14–4||Chad Mendes||Decision (unanimous)||WEC 50||August 18, 2010||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||14–3||John Franchi||Submission (guillotine choke)||WEC 44||November 18, 2009||3||4:50||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Loss||13–3||José Aldo||TKO (flying knee and punches)||WEC 41||June 7, 2009||1||0:08||Sacramento, California, United States|
|Win||13–2||Hiroyuki Takaya||Decision (unanimous)||WEC 37||December 3, 2008||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||12–2||Donny Walker||Submission (rear-naked choke)||IFBL 11||February 23, 2008||3||1:24||Niles, Ohio, United States|
|Loss||11–2||Jens Pulver||Submission (guillotine choke)||WEC 31||December 12, 2007||1||0:35||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||11–1||Micah Miller||Decision (unanimous)||WEC 28||June 3, 2007||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||10–1||Tommy Lee||Submission (guillotine choke)||WEC 26||March 24, 2007||1||3:17||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||9–1||Chuck Kim||KO (punch)||BIB||November 17, 2006||1||4:51||Bakersfield, California, United States|
|Win||8–1||Charlie Valencia||TKO (punches)||KOTC: BOOYAA||October 13, 2006||1||4:52||San Jacinto, California, United States|
|Win||7–1||Richard Montano||Decision (unanimous)||KOTC: Rapid Fire||August 4, 2006||2||5:00||San Jacinto, California, United States||Featherweight debut.|
|Win||6–1||Shannon Gugerty||TKO (punches)||TC 13||March 11, 2006||2||3:40||Del Mar, California, United States|
|Win||5–1||Fernando Arreola||Submission (punches)||KOTC 63: Final Conflict||December 2, 2005||1||3:21||San Jacinto, California, United States|
|Win||4–1||Mike Corey||TKO (doctor stoppage)||KOTC 61: Flash Point||September 23, 2005||2||2:42||San Jacinto, California, United States|
|Win||3–1||Armando Sanchez||Submission (punches)||KOTC 58: Prime Time||August 5, 2005||1||1:59||San Jacinto, California, United States|
|Win||2–1||Martin Bautista||Submission (rear-naked choke)||Total Combat 7||January 29, 2005||2||N/A||Tijuana, Mexico|
|Win||1–1||Joe Morales||Submission (punches)||Total Combat 6||October 24, 2004||1||2:28||Tijuana, Mexico|
|Loss||0–1||Shannon Gugerty||Submission (rear-naked choke)||Total Combat 4||July 25, 2004||1||0:15||Tijuana, Mexico|
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- "Chad Mendes vs Cub Swanson AT WEC 50 in August". MMAWeekly.com. June 22, 2010.
- Staff (September 27, 2010). "WEC 52 Main Card Set for Nov. 11, Swanson vs. Semerzier Added to Prelims". News. mmafrenzy.com. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
- John Morgan (November 11, 2010). "WEC 52 preliminary-card recap: Assuncao, Njokuani, McDonald and Swanson shine". News. mmajunkie.com. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
- John Morgan (November 12, 2010). "WEC 52 bonuses: Koch, Faber, Swanson and Semerzier earn $10K awards". mmajunkie.com.
- "UFC and WEC set to merge in 2011; events to air on Versus and Spike TV". mmajunkie.com. October 28, 2010. Archived from the original on October 31, 2010.
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