After a breath-taking UFC debut Kron returns to the main stage this coming weekend to take on Cub Swanson and – undoubtably – his most challenging outing so far in mixed martial arts.
It’s bizarre to think that Kron has technically been a professional MMA fighter for the best part of five years. Following in the footsteps of his father, he made his debut in Japan, where he faced Hyung Soo Kim at REAL Fight Championship 1 in the run-in to Christmas 2014. Though boasting a perfect record of submission finishes, Gracie has only fought four times since his first outing – once in the UFC. In contrast, his opponent, Cub Swanson, has fought 36 times professionally and enters this contest coming off the back of four losses and in desperate need of a win.
Swanson is a wounded dog; four defeats in a row will do that to any fighter. Perhaps most worryingly, seven of Cub’s 11 professional losses came via submission, suggesting this could be an ideal match up for Gracie, who’s obvious strengths lie in grappling. However, Cub is sure to draw on his vast wealth of MMA experience to make sure he gives Kron his toughest challenge so far.
Kron’s arrival in the UFC brings with it a significant jump in terms of the level of opponent he’s set to encounter. Though a debut performance was close to perfect, but Swanson is sure to bring a new level of movement and stand-up trickery that could unsettle Kron like no fighter has done before. Pair that with the fact that Cub could well need a win if he is to continue fighting for the UFC, then this makes the occasion a pivotal moment for both fighters. Should Cub win, he gains restored faith as a division stalwart and probably a new contract. Should Kron pick up the victory, he ‘arrives’ as a division contender having claimed the biggest scalp of his career.
Ultimately, Kron’s ability to enter grappling exchanges will no doubt dictate the outcome of the fight, with his jiu jitsu on a level Swanson is yet to experience in MMA – Brian Ortega included. As grappling fans, we hope to see Gracie continue his excellent run of form and showcase the mentality championed by the likes of Demian Maia, Roger Gracie and his father, Rickson: you don’t need to hurt someone to win a fight.