By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
The featherweight division in the UFC is gathering steam into 2013, and there are a number of rising contenders trying to climb to the top. Champ Jose Aldo fights former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar at UFC 156, and at least one fight could produce the next challenger after that.
That fight is the Erik Koch-Ricardo Lamas bout at UFC on Fox 6 in Chicago, but one fellow featherweight believes his next fight deserves to get that shot. In an interview with MMAJunkie.com, Cub Swanson expressed his belief that his UFC on Fuel 7 bout with Dennis Siver deserves consideration.
"I feel I'm Top 5 just based on my performance, but I feel like this fight is the real No. 1 contender fight," Swanson said. "Me and him pose a bigger threat to Aldo if he keeps the belt. That's where my mind is ? if I win this fight, I'm getting a title shot. I don't care where they rank me, because I'm barely breaking Top 10 to those people, so I don't pay attention."
"I know [Koch and Lamas] definitely are [the top two contenders], but in my mind, we're the true No. 1 contenders because of our fighting style and posing a big threat to Aldo or Frankie. I've been finishing people and I've been fighting tougher opponents, in my opinion. I know with my last couple fights, if I finished in good fashion, that the UFC acknowledges that. They keep giving me good opponents, and I think they like what I'm doing out there. If I have another exciting performance, maybe I will get a title shot. I'm really hoping for that."
One thing working against Swanson, despite his three fight winning streak, is that his last loss came against Lamas. Swanson expressed admiration of Lamas as a fighter, but believes that came down to a mental mistake.
"I'm a fan of Lamas, but I really felt in that fight that I was winning that fight and I made a stupid mistake," he said. "I asked for that fight back. I asked the UFC if I could rematch him, and they said it didn't make sense. So all I can do is try to win the best I can in my other fights."
Penick's Analysis: The Swanson-Siver fight is fantastic, but they won't be leapfrogging the Koch-Lamas winner, and at best will be fighting the winner of that fight. The UFC could put "The Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung into the next title fight, which would allow for a true No. 1 contender fight between the Swanson-Siver and Koch-Lamas winners. If Koch-Lamas provides the next title fight, Swanson-Siver will be fighting to get into a possible No. 1 contender fight against someone else.
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