Ahead of UFC 303, Cub Swanson opens up on how MMA ‘literally saved (his) life’

LAS VEGAS – Cub Swanson is grateful to be a UFC fighter.

Swanson (29-13 MMA, 14-9 UFC) faces Andre Fili (23-11 MMA, 11-10 UFC) on Saturday’s UFC 303 (pay-per-view, ESPN, ESPN+) prelims at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

A 42-fight veteran, Swanson is one of the longest-tenured active UFC fighters. He acknowledges the end is near, but he couldn’t imagine doing anything else in life but fighting in the octagon.

“It literally saved my life,” Swanson told MMA Junkie and other reporters at a pre-fight news conference Wednesday. “I was not doing well in life. I was lost, and this sport gave me structure, and it humbled me, and it gave me direction. It’s taught me many life lessons, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without this sport.”

Swanson thought about retirement before his close decision win over Hakeem Dawodu last August, but he isn’t ready to pen down a specific date for his last fight.

“I’ve been on that wavelength for a little while, and I’m in the mindset of this is the last chapter, not the last fight,” Swanson said. “So I don’t know what’s next. I take every fight like it’s my last. A lot of me thought my last fight was my last because I was dealing with some back issues for years and years. I had back surgery, and I feel so much better and got new life into me.”

Owner of nine bonuses throughout his UFC career, including a UFC Hall of Fame induction for his Fight of the Night win over Dooho Choi at UFC 206, Swanson echoed Fili’s excitement when he was offered the fight.

“At this point in my career, I’m trying to have fun,” Swanson said. “I know when I’m out there having fun I have my best performances, and that’s really what I’m trying to do is have great performances. I think I’ve solidified myself as a fan favorite, and somebody people love to watch fight and at this point it’s just icing on the cake.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 303.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie