UFC 206: Doo Ho Choi vs. Cub Swanson Could Steal the Show

Rarely has such an unassuming fighter brought with him such a stunningly artistic display of violence to the Octagon. Rarely has a near-perfect opponent been paired up with such a fighter. At UFC 206, we get just that with Doo-Ho Choi vs. Cub Swanson.

Though he’s currently being compared to UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor, let’s call Doo Ho Choi the anti-McGregor. For all of the violence that the young South Korean pro is capable of (and in that, he’s very much like McGregor), he’s a completely calm, soft-spoken character outside the cage and in interviews. Watching him fight is like watching a polite schoolboy fend off a bully after class. Only, Choi is a schoolboy who who beats grown men into submission. While getting paid to do it.

Much has been made about Choi’s childlike looks, however, not enough has been said about his skill. His ability to stay calm under pressure is nearly unnerving coming from a fighter just 25 years old. Against BJJ black belt Thiago Tavares this past July, he proved he could handle being taken down and pressed against the cage. There were no signs of panic. He controlled his breathing, his movement, and frankly his opponent like a seasoned pro.

He has finished all his UFC bouts, over increasingly stiff competition, and has a crisp right hand that can put anyone to sleep.

At UFC 206 against Cub Swanson, he’ll get a chance to prove he can hang with the top of the division.

Swanson, of course, is a salty vet who has long stalked the top-five at featherweight. Since dropping a pair of fights to Frankie Edgar and Max Holloway, he has bounced back with a couple of wins, and is looking to build himself back up; To go on that title run he so desperately desires. He’s completely deserving of it: like Choi, he brings a certain violent artistry to the cage. Swanson, quite frankly, is a fun fighter to watch.

Cartwheel kicks. Creative, crisp striking. Never coasting.

Putting the two together means they have a shot at stealing the show.

It won’t be easy. What UFC 206 lacks in star power, it makes up for in fan-friendly fights. Holloway vs. Pettis, Cerrone vs. Brown, and Cirkunov vs. Krylov all have a shot at Fight of the Night and classic status, frankly. It’s doubtful all will live up to expectations, but those coupled with Choi vs. Swanson should certainly result in some entertaining action. If two of those live up to the hype, fans should be thrilled.

Yet the Choi fight is the one that could really steal the show simply because the Korean Superboy is still very much flying under the radar at this point. Only the diehards are really hip to his potential at the moment. That could all change come Saturday.

With a win, Choi will have put himself in title contention. A loss wouldn’t set him back too badly, and would boost Swanson’s value. It’s win-win for the UFC, win-win for the fans. A bright spot for a troubled card. Sit back and enjoy it.