Cub Swanson doesn’t plan on being Kron Gracie’s ‘stepping stone’ at UFC on ESPN+ 19

TAMPA, Fla. — Cub Swanson has been in the game long enough to know what kind of matchup he’s in.

The longtime veteran takes on Kron Gracie this Saturday in the co-main event of UFC on ESPN+ 19, in what will be Gracie’s (5-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) second octagon appearance. Swanson (25-11 MMA, 10-7 UFC), on the other hand will be entering his 18th UFC fight, and understands the position he’s being set up in.

“Well that’s how the game works,” Swanson told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at Wednesday’s UFC on ESPN+ 19 open workouts. “I’m the veteran, I’m the older fighter. If I’m not in title contention then I’m possibly someone’s stepping stone, that’s how the game works, and I have to go in there and show them otherwise. I understand that and that’s all good because at the end of the day, if I want to keep my job, I got to earn it so bring them on and the fact that it’s a Gracie, it’s cool.”

And Swanson has never had an issue with fighting young up and comers. He’s fought the likes of Doo Ho Choi in 2016, which ended up being the “Fight of the Year” at UFC 206, as well as the likes of Artem Lobov, and Shane Burgos in his most recent contest.

“I don’t mind it at all,” Swanson said. “I constantly keep young fighters around me. I used to let them stay at my house, I do sometimes but now I got a family, so it’s not quite the same.

“It keeps me hungry, it keeps me sharp, it keeps me in the loop of what’s new and it lets me know if I’m slacking it or slipping.”

Swanson is currently facing the worst skid of his career, dropping his past four in a row. But he has alleviated the pressure on himself, and will just relish the moment of competing against a Gracie, looking to put on a show.

“I think the last two fights had more pressure as far as winning and losing,” Swanson said. “This one I just want to go out there and perform. I know I’m capable of beating the crap out of him. I know he’s dangerous but I’m just excited for the opportunity and I am an older fighter, I never know when my last fight is going to be, so I’m just trying to enjoy it and put on the best performances I can.”

UFC on ESPN+ 19 takes place Saturday at Amalie Arena. The entire card streams on ESPN+

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