Cub Swanson’s 20 Tattoos & Their Meanings

Kevin Luke “Cub” Swanson is an American mixed martial artist. He fights as the featherweight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Cub is famous for being self-obsessed with himself. He has also got multiple tattoos on his body and many of them are depicting Cub, himself. Let us explore his famous tattoos and the reasons as to why he has them on his body.

Cub Swanson

He says he was also planning to get one tattoo on his head but is happy that he did not go ahead with that decision.

“I almost got a tattoo on the back of my head just to force myself to (fight) forever because I couldn’t get a real job,” said Swanson of Cathedral City. “I’d like to put that pressure so I’d have to make it.

“I contemplated that very hard. I’m glad I didn’t do it.”

1. ‘Killer Cub Cartoon’ Tattoo

Cub Swanson Cartoon Cub Tattoo

Tattoo: On his Instagram, he shared a tattoo that he got inked recently with titling it as Killer Cub Tattoo. It shows his own animated character along with the words, KILLER, and CUB inked above and under the tattoo, respectively.

Meaning: Cub is known to be too obsessed with himself and his profession. He considers himself the killer in his profession and stronger than all other martial artists. Thus, this tattoo is the representation of himself in the cartoon character form, which is also wearing the inks which Cub has on his own body.

2. ‘Palm Trees’ Tattoo

Cub Swanson Palm Trees Tattoo

Tattoo: On his lower abdomen, Cub has got two palm trees inked, one on each side in black ink.

Meaning: He got it to represent Palm Springs, which is the birthplace (Palm Springs, California, United States) of Cub Swanson.

He says,

“I thought the palm trees were cool and no one had them. You see them a lot now,” Swanson said.

3. ‘So Cal’ Tattoo

Cub Swanson So Cal Tattoo

Tattoo: Across his chest, Cub has a spot of ink which reads as, “So Cal”.

Meaning: Cub Swanson is totally a family man, and he claims to be a true follower of the fact that, “home is where his heart is”. So he got “So Cal” tattoo on his chest got his distinctive “So Cal” on his chest.

“I didn’t want to have conflicting tattoos. My chest and stomach was what people are going to see when I fight. So Cal, they’ll see that first and they’ll say, ‘What’s up with the palm trees?’ That will narrow it down.”

4. Tribal Tattoo

Cub Swanson Black Band Tattoo

Tattoo: On his left bicep he has a tribal tattoo that shows a black band along with an “S” inked in its center.

Meaning: He says when he was 17 he wanted to have a tattoo so he got this band done. The S is the initial of his surname.

“When Swanson was 17, he was anxious to get a tattoo just to have one. So he settled for a tribal tattoo on his left arm.”

“It was cool, I was happy with it. But I don’t like it now,” Swanson said. “It doesn’t mean anything to me. But I didn’t know what to get. Afterwards, you learn to get something with meaning to it, so you won’t regret it.”

5. ‘VICTORY and Quote’ Tattoo

Cub Swanson VICTORY Tattoo

Tattoo: Towards the inner side of his left forearm, Cub has a tattoo which reads, “VICTORY” followed by a quote under it which says, “Victory is reserved for people who are willing to pay the price.”

Meaning: In the year 2011, during a training session his left side of the face got hurt badly with a broken jaw, caved-in cheekbone and spoiled its eye socket. This tattoo is the reminder for himself that he fights for himself and endures the pain too, with the ultimate aim of becoming the best. After his injury, he got the tattoo as a continuous reminder to himself as to why he endures the pain and has also recorded a six streak win streak after that.

“People try to fight or want to be famous. They don’t do it because they want to be the best,” Swanson explains. “When I started, I got $200 to fight in Tijuana. I did it because I wanted to test my martial arts. I feel like when you do that, (shows his forearm) this is what happen.

“It reminds me that I paid the price and I’m willing to do what it takes.”

“People try to fight or want to be famous,” he said. “They don’t do it because they want to be the best. When I started, I got $200 to fight in Tijuana. I did it because I wanted to test my martial arts. I feel like when you do that, (shows his forearm) this is what happen.”

6. ‘Tribal Mask’ Tattoo

Cub Swanson Left Shoulder Tattoo

Tattoo: Cub’s left shoulder is inked with a huge masked tribal face tattoo.

7. ‘Lion’ Tattoo

Cub Swanson Lion Tattoo

Cub Swanson Lion Ink

Tattoo: His left forearm is covered with the face of a lion inked in light shaded ink.

Meaning: The lion tattoo represents his strength and will power and how strong and powerful he considers himself to be.

8. ‘Battlefield’ Tattoo

Cub Swanson Battle Field Tattoo

Tattoo: On the outer left side of his left forearm there is an illustration of a battlefield inked. This is evident from the masked soldier sitting om the horse inked on his left arm.


Cub Swanson Right Arm

9. ‘Dragon with long arms’ Tattoo

Cub Swanson Dragon with Large arm Tattoo Cub Swanson Newly Changed Dragon Tattoo

Tattoo: Cub’s right bicep is covered with a red dragon that has long black arms. He claims that this tattoo has no specific importance for him, however, he got it modified later by adding a few clouds and designs around it later.

10. ‘Angry Face Cartoon’ Tattoo

Cub Swanson Animated Face Tattoo

Right Leg Tattoos

Cub Swanson Right Leg Tattoos

Cub Swanson Right Leg Tattoo

Swanson has been a soccer player and being right legged he also kicks with his right, thus he decided to get his right leg tattooed and named it “The Leg of Death”.

11. ‘Skull’ Tattoo

Cub Swanson Ghost Leg Tattoo

Tattoo: There is a skull inked on his right leg. Skull is the first indication of death.

12. ‘Roses on Calf’ Tattoo

Cub Swanson Right Leg Tattoos

Cub Roses Tattoo

Tattoo: Along the calf of his right leg, Cub has got red roses inked.

Meaning: The roses are meant to represent the Mexican custom of “El Dia de Los Muertos” or “Day of the Dead”, which is observed as a holiday in Mexico in the memory of near ones who are no more alive.

13. ‘Viking Skull’ Tattoo

Tattoo: On the front side of his right thigh, Swanson has a Viking Skull inked.

Meaning: Viking Skull tattoo symbolizes death and is also the symbol of protection. This Viking Skull tattoo is part of the whole concept of the leg of death which is represented on his right leg. He had gone to Sweden on a trip and since he is half Swedish, he wanted to get some ink in order to serve it as a token of memory of that trip, and thus he got a Viking Tattoo.

“We were drinking at the bar and the tattoo guy said we can go right now. It was midnight, so we took a taxi to his place,” Swanson said.

“That was the only one (done after midnight). It was the only sketchy one. I mean, it wasn’t sketchy, it was a spur of the moment,” Swanson said.

14. ‘Roses and KILLER’ Tattoo

Tattoo: On his upper right thigh, and just above his red roses ink, Cub has got the word, Killer inked. The tattoo is another representation of his own belief about his dedication and attitude towards his career just like a few other Martial Artists who have got similar Killer Tattoos.

As the part of his whole theme of getting the “leg of death”, Cub has few insect tattoos inked which include:

15. ‘Bug’ Tattoo

Cub Swanson Bug Tattoo

16. ‘Hissing Cobra’ Tattoo

Cub Swanson Cobra Tattoo



Tattoo: Right on the top of his foot, Cub has the words inked, which read as “DEATH COMES TO US ALL”.

“Eventually on my foot, I wanted to put “rest in pieces,” Swanson said.


Cub Swanson Back Tattoo

18. ‘SWANSON’ Tattoo

Cub Swanson SWANSON Tattoo

Tattoo: Right on the top of his back Cub has a tattoo that reads, “SWANSON”. Swanson is his surname which is also followed by a portrait of a man in a sitting position which obviously depicts CUB SWANSON himself.

19. ‘Huge Cross with Jesus on Crucification’ Tattoo

Cub Swanson Cross Tattoo

Tattoo: In the middle of his back, there is a huge cross inked that has artwork on it done very minutely. Inside of Swanson’s cross is a depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus when he was put to death along with two other men, one on each side.

Meaning: The cross tattoo represents his strong faith in Christianity and devotion towards Jesus Christ. The cross has been inspired from his childhood days and his livelihood as to how he was brought up in a church.

20. ‘Angels and Demons’ Tattoo

Cub Swanson Angels and Demons Tattoo

Tattoo: Above the cross, there is heaven inked in the form of dark clouds followed by angels and demons which are inked under the Cross and can be seen in a battle.

Meaning: The whole artwork is inspired by the artwork of the French Illustrator Gustave Dore. Swanson has got the tattoo to represent his own state of mind as a fight between good and evil and the balance between both.

“I was raised in the church, so it has meaning to me,” said Swanson. “I believe in having balance in life. Doing good things in my everyday life and then being extra mean when I fight is my balance.”

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