Not long after he took Knockout of the Night honors for his win over Charles Oliveira at UFC 152, Cub Swanson said something that caused message board vigilantes everywhere to grab for their six guns. Someone was wrong on the Internet!
The teapot thunder started when Swanson told the Sherdog Radio Network that he would "win that fight 10 out of 10 times if we did it again." "That fight" here apparently meaning a rematch with featherweight champion Jose Aldo. In an even bolder move, Swanson added that his own little brother would be "more of a fair fight" for Aldo. Good God.
See, what made this statement so hilarious and unconscionable were the events of their first fight, an eight-second burst of blood and fury that turned Swanson into a Google Images mainstay thanks to a gash over his eye that looked like it came from an ill-used circular saw.
But wait. Hold the phone a second. Turns out Swanson thought they were talking about Jens Pulver, not Aldo. Oh, OK. And so the Internet vigilantes melted back into the shadows, probably in many cases without even bothering to ask the post-premature-shooting questions that the legends foretold.
And that's a shame. Because even as he back-pedaled, Swanson said a return engagement between he and Aldo would be "a hell of a fight," and the first result wouldn't happen again. He has not been shy about his desire to try and avenge that infamous carnage.
That leads me to want to engage in one of my very favorite activities: wild speculation. As mother's milk to the suckling babe or sunlight to the mighty Redwood, baseless opinion-mongering is the very lifeblood of the mixed martial arts discourse. Don't let nobody tell you different!
There is no question Swanson has looked good of late. He is hungry; his devastation of Oliveira—his third straight UFC victory—demonstrated as much. But is it enough to put him back "in the mix" with Aldo?
Not yet. There are quite a few fighters between them. Luckily for us fans, all those fighters also would make good fights.
All of this, of course, rests on the assumption that Jose Aldo gets healthy some time in the foreseeable future. He injured himself a while back after colliding with a motorist while riding his motorcycle. Aldo went on to swear off motorcycles, which is good, though it doesn't un-injure him. In any event, the goal for now is that he'll be back by "January at the latest." This has happened to Aldo before, so you'll pardon me if I didn't start tallying up the chickens the moment I heard the news.
Aldo's first fight upon returning should be Frankie Edgar, his originally scheduled opponent. Camp Aldo already said it still wants Edgar. But it doesn't end there. A young man named Chan Sung Jung waits in the wings. There may not be a more exciting beltless featherweight than "The Korean Zombie." And he's earned his way there.
As for Swanson, he still needs to defeat a unqualified contender. It's not something the 28-year-old has yet done in his career. How about Dustin Poirier? Dennis Siver? Diego Nunes? I'd definitely clear my schedule to watch Swanson go at it with Nunes.
That gap between being and becoming is not bridged with rainbows and radio interview misunderstandings. Cub Swanson knows this. So let him do it. Let him set to work earning this shot at redemption he so desperately wants. Who knows? Maybe by the time Aldo rides back into town, Swanson will be a member of the welcome party.
For more wild speculation, which is the lifeblood of the Internet, follow Scott Harris on Twitter.