Las Vegas – UFC® today announced that the classic 2016 fight between featherweights Cub Swanson and Dooho Choi will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame’s ‘Fight Wing’ as a part of the class of 2022. The 2022 UFC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by Toyo Tires®, will take place during the 10th Annual UFC International Fight WeekÔ this summer in Las Vegas and will be streamed live on UFC FIGHT PASS®.
“The fight between Cub Swanson and Dooho Choi is one of the greatest fights of all time,” said UFC President Dana White. “This fight was an absolute war for all three rounds and both guys left everything they had inside the Octagon, it was crazy! This fight was an incredible display of heart, endurance and determination and it was so good, it was named the 2016 Fight of the Year. Congratulations to Cub Swanson and Dooho Choi on a fight that will always be remembered as one of the best ever!”
As one of the featured main card bouts of UFC® 206: HOLLOWAY vs. PETTIS, which took place on December 10, 2016, at Air Canada Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Swanson and Choi entered the event on winning streaks of two and 12, respectively.
Swanson entered the Octagon® ranked #4 in the division with a 23-7 record that included victories over current UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira, former interim UFC lightweight champion Dustin Poirier and former Shooto welterweight champion Tatsuya Kawajiri.
Choi, who was ranked #11 in the division, entered the fight having won all three of his previous UFC fights and possessed an impressive overall record of 14-1 that included wins over former Pancrase lightweight champion Shoji Maruyama and former Shooto welterweight champion Mitsuhiro Ishida.
At the beginning of the fight, Swanson and Choi quickly advanced to the center of the Octagon, with Choi striking first with a straight right before clinching and administering multiple knees. On the break, Choi tripped Swanson using his left leg, causing Swanson to slide into in a standing guillotine. With the standing guillotine in place, Choi administered three more knees that created heavy swelling over Swanson’s right eye.
Swanson recovered quickly and began to take control of the fight by dictating the pace and striking first during each exchange, as both athletes would trade flurries of punches, knees and leg kicks throughout the remainder of the first round.
Swanson raced to the center of the Octagon at the beginning of round two, resuming his role as the aggressor and applying consistent pressure with the focus of forcing Choi to fight off of his back foot from a defensive position. This was an in-fight adjustment made by his corner in between rounds, as his team felt that Choi could not maintain an offensive attack from this position.
With 3:55 left in the second, Swanson connected on a barrage of punches and body kicks, driving Choi to the fence and briefly to the ground in an attempt to withstand the continuous shots coming from Swanson.
At the end of the exchange, Choi caught Swanson with a right hook, stunning him and sending him down to one knee. Swanson quickly stood up, but had not fully recovered, so he retreated to the fence and covered up as Choi unleashed his own set of punches, attempting to finish Swanson on his feet. Dazed, but still active on his feet, Swanson survived by using jabs and straight kicks to push Choi outside of striking distance in an attempt to allow himself to recover and survive the attack.
From a clinched position, Swanson took advantage and took Choi down with a judo throw, then immediately moved into a mounted position for the first takedown of the fight. With 2:55 remaining in the second, Swanson took Choi’s back and attempted to secure both hooks, but Choi was able to scramble and evade Swanson’s submission attempt, with Swanson still maintaining full guard position.
Known for his strong ground attack as a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Swanson controlled the action in both half and full guard until letting Choi stand up and resume trading punches. Both athletes swung for the fences with each punch, with Swanson connecting on a rarely used cartwheel kick, which stunned Choi and brought the sold-out crowd of more than 18,000 fans to their feet and into a frenzy of excitement.
Swanson, in control of the round, began to swing wildly, fighting with a more relaxed style with hands down as opposed to the more technical Choi, whose counterpunches rocked Swanson during each exchange. Swanson closed the final 45 seconds of the round by connecting on numerous punches and a spinning backfist that sent Choi to the fence and almost knocked him out on his feet. Both athletes connected with punches to end the round, neither giving an inch.
The non-stop pace continued in round three, with both Swanson and Choi exchanging punches and body kicks in the center of the Octagon. Choi successfully executed a takedown of Swanson with 3:50 left in the round, but Swanson quickly countered to gain top position. After trading punches and elbows on the canvas, Swanson would stand and allow Choi to do the same with 2:55 remaining. Swanson immediately took control of the pace with a barrage of punches that stunned Choi on the fence, before taking Choi back to the canvas via hip toss with 2:32 remaining. Swanson applied pressure via headlock but stood back up with Choi with 2:00 minutes left in the fight.
The slugfest continued for the final minutes of the third round, with Swanson connecting on a Superman punch with 15 seconds left that nearly sent Choi to the ground. Swanson completed one more takedown of Choi before the end of the round, concluding the fight in top position. At the end of the fight, both athletes received a standing ovation from the crowd.
Swanson won the bout via unanimous decision, earning a headlining spot in his next bout against Artem Lobov at UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: SWANSON vs. LOBOV, which took place four months later on April 22, 2017, in Nashville, Tennessee.
During the event, Swanson and Choi landed a combined 188 significant strikes, the most for a featherweight fight in 2016. Swanson landed 111 of the 188 significant strikes, which also set a high mark as the most by a featherweight in a single bout in 2016. The fight won the Fight of the Night performance award and would be acknowledged by ESPN and the Fighters Only Magazine World MMA Awards as “2016 Fight of the Year.”
Swanson has continued to flourish inside the Octagon, having won three of his last four fights, and he most recently defeated veteran Darren Elkins. He currently holds the record for most post-fight bonuses in UFC featherweight history with nine. Choi would lose his next two fights against Jeremy Stephens and Charles Jourdain, before retiring at the end of 2019 with a 14-4 record. Each of Choi’s final five bouts earned a post-fight bonus.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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