“I knew he was going to be a tough guy, but I just know that I’m sharper than that,” Swanson told Fox Sports after his unanimous decision victory. “I was really frustrated about that, and I know I have to do better. I did enough to get the win, and I’m proud of that, but I could be better.”
Poirier did appear to be the tighter -- though not necessarily the more effective -- striker during their featherweight bout at Wembley Arena in London. However, Swanson managed to connect several times with hard, looping shots, notably clipping “The Diamond” with a sweeping uppercut in the first frame.
“I’m a lot more accurate than that. He did a pretty good job of holding back just enough,” said Swanson. “I give him credit. He was a lot trickier than I thought. My hat’s off to him. He was talking some trash, and I was like, ‘My apologies, but I won it.’”
Swanson consistently stuffed Poirier’s takedown attempts through a competitive first 10 minutes between the world-ranked 145-pounders. In round three, it was Swanson who shot for a takedown after Poirier began to find his range. While the decision resulted in Swanson winning the final round and the fight, the Jackson’s MMA product was nevertheless injured in the process.
“When I took him down, I landed on my head and my thumb at the same time. I’m glad I didn’t knock myself out,” said Swanson. “I bent my thumbnail back, and it started bleeding pretty good. That really hurt, but it’s cool. It’s part of the job I chose.”
The hard-fought victory should move Swanson further up the featherweight ladder, inching him one step closer to a rematch with reigning champion Jose Aldo. Swanson was initially supposed to face Dennis Siver on Saturday evening, but the German withdrew from their bout, leaving Poirier to fill in. Though a meeting with Siver would certainly make sense at this juncture, Swanson said he will be ready for whomever the UFC throws at him.
“I think [Siver] should fight another guy first. I could see [myself fighting Chan Sung Jung] or [having] a rematch with [Ricardo] Lamas,” said Swanson. “I’m trying to dominate these opponents, not just win. I’m going to go back in the gym and work it. I’m hungry.”