Cub Swanson has always been considered to be a fighter who has amazing potential. After his career jumped out to a hot start, the Team Jackson fighter experienced a rough patch, leaving questions and doubt as to whether that potential would ever be fulfilled.
But Saturday night against George Roop in Chicago at UFC on FOX: Evans vs. Davis, everything came together for Swanson in fantastic fashion.
The action was intense from the jump as both fighters exchanged flurries of punches and kicks. Swanson was able to score early and often, continuously forcing Roop backward. Swanson was able to claim the first frame, and when the second round got under way, he turned up the intensity.
His striking cut through Roop's defense until he finally landed a vicious right hand that sent Roop's mouthpiece flying and Roop's body crashing to the canvas. No sooner did Roop's frame hit the canvas, Swanson became overwhelmed with emotion.
"It was a huge relief," Swanson told HeavyMMA after his win. "I've had a lot of ups and downs in my career. I put a lot of pressure on myself to go out there and get the win. I felt like I really needed it. When it happened -- it was like a dream come true."
In recent fights, Swanson has had difficulty finding his rhythm. But Saturday night, that was not an issue. Swanson found a home for nearly every strike he threw and was able to force Roop into the range where Swanson could exploit the advantages.
"I'm confident in my defense," Swanson said. "I knew the attacks he was going to throw at me. His offense is very basic, but his range makes him difficult to deal with. I knew what he was going to throw, so it was just a matter of time before I was able to get in.
"I wanted to do a few different things and get him to react. I was really waiting for him to move into position where I could hit him with something big. I wanted him to dip out to the right where I could use a big overhand. I was doing a lot of different things to get him to move where I wanted him.
"It's a comfort level. If you come to Greg Jackson's, you'll see me spar and use every trick in the book. I do things people haven't seen yet. I like to flow in the ring, and when you get comfortable you can show the things you can do.
"There were some things I wanted to use tonight, but I didn't get to. I wanted to put on an exciting fight for the fans, and I'm happy I was able to do that."
Saturday's victory gives Swanson a much-needed return to the win column. After a stretch of fights that had seen him give and take wins and losses, he's looking to build divisional momentum in the featherweight class.
"I'm excited to fight anyone in the division, but I get excited to fight another striker," Swanson said. "I believe it brings out the best in me and allows good fights for the fans to watch. Anybody out there who is willing to throw down with me -- consider me in."