From roughneck to responsible: Getting to know the other Swanson

After watching Cub Swanson's hard fought victory over Dustin Poirier at UFC on FUEL TV 7, I figured it would be the perfect time…

By: Stephie Haynes | 11 years ago
From roughneck to responsible: Getting to know the other Swanson
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

After watching Cub Swanson’s hard fought victory over Dustin Poirier at UFC on FUEL TV 7, I figured it would be the perfect time to introduce our readers to the other Swanson. That’s right kids. There are two fighters in the family. Cub’s ‘little’ brother, Steven holds an outstanding 10-0 professional record and is definitely on the radar at 125 pounds. The oldest of three boys, Steven is looking to make a splash in the UFC, and hopefully, we’ll all be treated to his skills sooner rather than later. I recently spoke with Steven so that you all can get to know the troubled kid that grew up to be a responsible adult and talented athlete.

Pro career

I did a couple of fights at bantamweight, just because when I started, the flyweights weren’t really going that well. It was really hard to get fights, but I’ve been at it for five years now. Cub definitely influenced me 100% when it comes to my MMA background. I’ve learned everything from him. Everything from the little brother, which some people might find kind of odd, but we work well together.


I train at Jackson’s MMA with Cub and the other guys. We have a house here in California, and what we do is train a few weeks here, a few weeks there, and our boxing, which is probably one of the best places in the country, with Joel Diaz. He’s the boxing trainer for Tim Bradley, who just recently beat Manny Pacquiao.


I went with Cub to one of his fights in Las Vegas, and we talked to the matchmaker. We asked him what do I have to do to get in. He told me to get to 10-0, which I just did, so I’m here, and as of now, I’m just waiting for the call and trying to be ready. Hopefully it comes soon, because I’m already 32 [laughs].

Late bloomer

One of the reasons I started later in my career, was because I chose the roughneck path. Ya know, Cub did things like I did, too, and ended up going away for a while, also. It straightened him out. I didn’t get straightened out until later on in life, and when I did, he gave me the opportunity to see if this was what I wanted to do. We did a few amateur matches, which ended up being quick wins, so it was an easy transition into pro.

Roughneck path

We definitely grew up, getting into trouble. We have another brother in the middle of us, me being the oldest, Cub being the youngest, and Aaron being in the middle. We always got into trouble. We were good athletes. Soccer, football … you name it, we were involved. We had a lot of friends, and we liked to get into mischief. We ended up doing that quite a bit and we got into some trouble for it.

When we finally switched our ways and kept our nose clean, it worked out well for us. I got into trouble a few times, but the last time was the longest at a year and a half. After that, I moved to Oklahoma for a while. It was completely different and like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It was a very small town, but it changed my life. I went there to help my uncle run a Christian men’s home that we originally started down here [California], and ended up putting one there, too. I ended up staying out there for a while, going to school, and basically changing my life for the better.

*It should be noted that he went to juvenile detention and county facilities only. There was never any ‘prison’ time involved.*

Career longevity

Honestly, this has been more a dream than anything. I never thought I would get this far or had the expectations of even getting to this point. Now that I am, there’s no way I’m gonna stop. I’m gonna keep going until I make it. We’ll have to see what happens. I’m excited at this point. Things are looking good.

I only want to do this for a couple more years, though. I just want to see where it goes, have fun with it, and take it from there. I’m enjoying the journey and meeting all these new people and great fighters.

You can follow Steven via his Twitter account, @LilSteveSwanson

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About the author
Stephie Haynes
Stephie Haynes

Stephie Haynes has been covering MMA since 2005. She has also worked for MMA promotion Proelite and apparel brand TapouT. She hosted TapouT’s official radio show for four years before joining Bloody Elbow in 2012. She has interviewed everyone there is to interview in the fight game from from Dana White to Conor McGregor to Kimbo Slice, as well as mainstream TV, film and music stars including Norman Reedus, RZA and Anthony Bourdain. She has been producing the BE podcast network since 2017 and hosts four of its current shows.

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