Steve Swanson – Combate Americas main event, star in the making
Steve Swanson (14-2) is the younger brother of UFC knockout artist Cub Swanson, and on January 19 when he headlines Combate Americas in Mexico City, the younger Swanson guarantees he will have his hand raised and people will recognize his name.
Swanson takes on Gustavo Lopez (6-2) – for the league’s much-anticipated, historic debut in Mexico and the fight will stream live on UFC Fight Pass.
MyMMANews – This is your first fight for Combate and it is a historic card, the organization’s first trip to Mexico. Tell us a little bit about the significance of the card and what it means to get a chance to headline on such an event.
Steve Swanson – “Well when I found out about not only being on the card, but being able to headline it, it was an absolute honor. What a way to start off the new year by coming to a fantastic promotion and an awesome place like Mexico City. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
MyMMANews – You are taking on Gustavo Lopez who just fought in the main event at the last Combate Americas card in October. Lopez suffered a TKO loss to John Castaneda in that fight. What have you learned about your opponent from that fight and any other footage that you may have found?
Steve Swanson –“I learned a few different things. I’m not gonna touch too much on that. I saw some things that he has that were solid and some things that I didn’t think were too solid so we’re gonna try and capitalize on those things that are not so great and see how things go for us. All in all I’m excited and it’s gonna be a fun night. It’s gonna be exciting.”
MyMMANews – As you said, this fight is in Mexico City. We’ve seen fighters, even at the UFC championship level with highly regarded cardiovascular training in Cain Velasquez have issues with cardio. We saw it in the Fabricio Werdum fight. What are you doing in to prepare for the high elevation in Mexico City?
Steve Swanson – “Well, that definitely is a bummer, the high altitude. Also, I took the fight on short notice so we’re working against the grain here but we have a couple of things back home that are gonna help us with the elevation. I’m not too worried about that. I feel that I’ll be able to pick and choose and do what I do to get that win.”
MyMMANews – You are coming into this fight riding a four-fight win streak, all by TKO or KO. You last 3 fights combined don’t even total up to 2 minutes. What else can you tell us about your fighting style other than its not a wise move to try to stand and bang with you?
Steve Swanson – “Well, I’m definitely train all aspects. I train wrestling, train jiu-jitsu, train in the clinch, kickboxing, but my coaches always, always tell me, ‘Don’t f**k around in there.
You’re in the for one reason, and one reason only and that’s to get the job done. So don’t play around, and just handle business.’
And they’ve told me that every time and so that’s what I go in there and do regardless of opponent, that’s what we’re looking to do every time.”
MyMMANews – Most every mixed martial arts fan knows who your brother is. He was just involved in what may have been the Fight of the Year against Doo Ho Choi at UFC 206. Do you feel any pressure at all to get fans focused on you? Get them knowing who Steve Swanson is?
Steve Swanson – “I don’t feel the pressure at all. When I first started out, I did feel the pressure a little bit. I was like ‘Hey, am I gonna be as good him? He’s such a stud and a hard worker.’ But nowadays I just try to focus on me and the better I do, all that other stuff will just come.”
MyMMANews – What was it like growing up with Cub? You guys have both been competing in one of hardest and physically demanding sports. Were there a lot of backyard brawls?
Steve Swanson – “Well you know what, definitely a lot of backyard brawls. We grew up in a pretty sour part of town and we were always fighting with all sorts of people. Not really with each other, but we have another brother, a middle brother, named Aaron and we’re like a three pack, we were always close and growing up all we did is fight.”
MyMMANews – Is Aaron a fighter too?
Steven Swanson – “Aaron is the opposite of a fighter. He calls himself ‘The Lover.’ But if he’s tested, he’s the scary one. You always have to watch out for the quiet.”
MyMMANews – Where are you currently training and what do you consider to be the best aspect of your fight game? On paper it appears as if stand up and boxing are your best quality, but what are your thoughts?
Steven Swanson – “I wouldn’t say it is the best part because as a mixed martial artist you want to be well-rounded, you want to be good everywhere. I just feel that in a fight, the fans want to see a knockout. They want it to be exciting. They want to say ‘Oh damn,’ and get up off their feet. So that’s what I try to do. I can submit someone if I wanted to. I can give them a takedown. I just feel that knockouts are the most exciting part. We train at Tru MMA in Indio, California. That’s Cub’s gym. There’s also the Indio Boxing Club which is famous for Tim Bradley and Lucas Matthysse is there right now. Good guys out of there.”
MyMMANews – Is bantamweight where you are most comfortable? Are you able to move around to different weight classes if need be?
Steve Swanson – “Yeah, you know what? I feel that I can do 125 or 35. I’m actually a smaller bantamweight. Sometimes that can work to your advantage. I definitely don’t like the weight cut at 25. It’s kind of hard for me. And I definitely feel comfortable at bantamweight. One of the reasons why we wanted to do bantamweight is because I just got off a reality show in Sweden. I put on about 20-25 pounds from eating in about five weeks.”
MyMMANews – What kind of reality show was it?
Steven Swanson – “It was about my Swedish heritage. You have to had never been to Sweden before. You have to have relatives there. What happens is they take you out there, you learn about the culture. You actually get to meet some of your relatives, go where they live, hang out with them. They take you all around the countryside.
It’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen. In the States it will only be on YouTube. It’s called Allt för Sverige. It’s the number one show in Sweden. And now I’m going to Mexico.
I’m gonna try to learn a little bit about the other side of my heritage. I’m 50 percent Swedish, and 50 percent Hispanic.”
MyMMANews – Going back to the fight and your career a bit. The scouts are going to be watching, if you will. This is the main event for Combate on UFC Fight Pass. How far off do you think the UFC is for you?
“You know what I don’t even think about that anymore. I tried numerous times to get on the shows. I’ve actually tried out for the Ultimate Fighter twice. I’ve gone to the very end and got cut both times right at the end. I’m kind of over that. I just want to be on the bigger stages anywhere. My brother told me that this organization is up and coming. They are making a big jump and go everywhere with it and make a big deal, and I wanted to be part of it.”
MyMMANews – Any shout outs or people you want to thank?
Steve Swanson – “I just want to always, always say thank you to my training partners. Without them I wouldn’t be where I’m at. My brother, Cub, the Diaz brothers, and Antonio and Joel Diaz, some of the best boxing coaches you could ever have. My jiu-jitsu coach Mike Morales, my whole family, everyone, they’ve been a great support group, and that’s what you need in order to be a successful fighter.”
MyMMANews – Well best of luck Steve. Congratulations on the signing to Combate, and I really think you are going to go far. I am going to make a prediction that you will be in the UFC within a year, just my prediction.
Steve Swanson – “Awesome man, I really appreciate that. When I make it there I’m gonna come find you.”