UFC featherweight contender Cub Swanson, who faces Dustin Poirier Saturday on Fuel TV, believes Ricardo Lamas should be next in line at 145 pounds instead of Anthony Pettis, who recently received a fight with champion Jose Aldo despite never before fighting as a featherweight.
Speaking to MMA alpha-reporter Ariel Helwani Monday on The MMA Hour broadcast, Swanson (18-5, 3-1 UFC) said the UFC is hewing ever closer to a boxing mentality when it comes to matchmaking, in which star power, not in-cage merits, win the day.
"I think we're going down the road that boxing got criticized for going down," Swanson said. "Putting the biggest names together and not necessarily the people who earned the shot. We're going down that road but that's nothing we can do."
Swanson, 29, has said repeatedly he would love a title shot and a rematch with Aldo, but on Monday endorsed Lamas (13-2) as the division's top contender. Lamas submitted Swanson in 2011 in Swanson's UFC debut.
"I just keep thinking if I put on a good performance, like I have been, then I'll get really pushed up there," Swanson said. "But Lamas hasn't lost, and just because he has that win over me, he'd probably be ahead of me. And he's not getting that title shot that he deserves...But I'm glad my name's finally being mentioned up there."
Swanson hasn't lost since Lamas, garnering three consecutive knockout wins. Back in 2009, Aldo defeated Swanson with a gaudy first-round TKO under the old WEC banner, and Swanson said he'd love a chance to exorcise that defeat.
"People keep throwing that in my face," Swanson said. "That was like three and a half years ago. Have I not redeemed myself? Am I not doing everything I need to do to deserve a shot?...It's a little annoying but it is what it is. It's the fight game."
Aldo and Pettis are scheduled to face off in August. Pettis, who appeared to be in the lightweight title mix after knocking out Donald Cerrone at UFC on Fox 6, informed UFC president Dana White that he wanted to drop 10 pounds and fight Aldo, following Aldo's win over Frankie Edgar at UFC 156.
In other news, Swanson said he might one day consider a move up to the lightweight division.
"I could [move up]," Swanson said. "I've been walking around at 180-185, but I think I'll stick around at 145 for a while. I think maybe some day I'll move up."