Cub Swanson has always had the talent, but now he’s putting it together in the cage.
The 29-year-old featherweight has won four straight in the UFC, and if he beats Dennis Siver on Saturday at UFC 162, trainer Greg Jackson would like to see him get a shot at the title.
“Siver’s been on a great tear too at 145,” Jackson told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “I think that this match should be for the No. 1 contender spot. Whether it is or not remains to be seen, but I feel that if Cub wins and puts on a good performance that there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be fighting for that title.”
Siver has won six of his last seven. Most recently, he earned a unanimous decision over Nam Phan in December at UFC on Fox 5. His only loss since early 2010 came against Donald Cerrone via rear-naked choke.
“Dennis is so tough,” Jackson said. “He’s got that unorthodox kickboxing style that’s very effective for him. Very looping punches. That left high kick does really well and the spin kicks and stuff, and then he’s really showed a good ground game lately -- a good wrestling game and a good ground game. He’s a complete fighter, which means we’ve kind of have to beat him everywhere. That’s a tall order because Siver’s pretty tough. I feel that Cub’s ready for it. I think he’s had a great camp and I just have confidence in my guy, but it’s going to be no easy fight for sure.”
Siver can strike, but Swanson’s camp won’t be surprised if he chooses to wrestle in the fight. It’s a tactic Jackson believes Swanson is ready for.
“I think he’s really turned the page,” Jackson said. “I think he’s kind of stepped up to that next level. I think there’s no doubt that if he starts getting the better of Siver on his feet, Dennis is going to shoot in on him and we’ll see what Cub can show in that counter wrestling/jiu-jitsu game.”
What happens Saturday could surprise fans, but it won’t surprise Jackson. Despite his success, Swanson has not yet surpassed Jackson’s expectations for him -- but that’s only because the expectations were high.
“I wouldn’t say surpassed because I saw the potential in him, but he’s certainly coming into his own,” Jackson said. “I guess I always saw that in him, and now it’s just nice that all you guys in the world can see it too.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:10:03).