Cub Swanson proved his chin was plenty sturdy on Saturday.
The grizzled vet took a three-round featherweight slugfest over Doo Ho Choi by unanimous decision at UFC 206 in Toronto. After a tentative first round, the pair did little other than swing leather for the remainder of the bout. Both appeared on the verge of succumbing to the other's onslaught on more than one occasion, but Swanson took the Fight of the Year candidate with some last-ditch flurries to extend his win streak to three.
The pair's war earned them a rightful, glowing seal of approval from UFC president Dana White.
Both fighters defied expectations of a fast finish with an uncharacteristically tentative first round, then emphatically shattered them with a two-round slugfest during which both fighters looked a hair away from being punched into oblivion.
Swanson drew first blood, abandoning the clinch to do what he does best, swarm his opponents with an unrelenting, varied attack that had Choi on wobbly legs, if only momentarily.
Through either divine intervention or an alien chin, Choi remained upright and had Swanson retreating just as quickly with his deadly counter-right before backing him against the cage and unleashing his own barrage.
Swanson proved equally as resilient, withstanding the barrage to see the final round, but not before Choi fed him some more leather.
While "The Korean Superboy" got the best of Swanson at the end of Round 2, Swanson's early efforts to draw first blood and lengthier onslaught were enough to edge him the frame on the scorecards.
Aside from hip toss from Swanson that briefly took the fight to the ground, the pair continued to trade bombs in the final five minutes, which the Cali native would steal with a last-ditch flurry that sent Choi to the canvas and left him ripe for some hammerfists that closed out the thriller.
Choi gave Swanson everything he had, but his tendency to counter as opposed to initiate cost him a 12-fight win streak in which he notched 10 knockouts. The youngster's first loss in the Octagon drops his promotional record to 3-1.