The fight game is such a fluid, funny thing.
Rewind back to June 2009 and Cub Swanson was a lesser known contender in the WEC, a talented fighter with a lot of unrealized potential who had suffered a quick defeat at the hands of fading legend Jens Pulver just a couple fights prior. He was gearing up for a showdown with another rising star who was thought to have a similar ceiling at 145-pounds.
"Scarface" wasted Swanson in just nine seconds using his first strike of the fight, a flawlessly timed and perfectly placed flying knee to the eyebrow. In his very next bout, Aldo won the featherweight championship, a belt he has yet to relinquish and is currently defending in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) against increasingly difficult competition.
Swanson, meanwhile, struggled to a 2-2 record in his next four outings, including dropping his Octagon debut. But he quickly turned things around, reeling off four wins in a row, a streak he's riding right now thanks to his latest triumph yesterday (Sat., Feb. 16, 2013) at UFC on FUEL TV 7: "Barao vs. McDonald" at Wembley Arena in London, England, where he earned a hard fought unanimous decision over Dustin Poirier.
That means he's crawling closer and closer to a shot at redemption, a chance at righting the biggest wrong of his career. In an interview for FUEL TV after his victory yesterday, he spoke of what could be next but made an interesting note of how he wants to go about getting his job done:
"I don't know, we'll see. I think he should fight another guy first, you know? I could see 'The Zombie' or a rematch with (Ricardo) Lamas. But I'm trying to dominate these opponents, not just win. So I'm going to go back in the gym and work it. I'm hungry."
That's the attitude, isn't it? He doesn't just want to win, he wants to dominate while doing so. Because if he can, it won't be long before he's once again standing across the cage from Aldo, the man who embarrassed him while he was rising to the top of the ladder, kicking him all the way back down to the bottom rung.
It's a long way back to the top, but he's almost there. The question now is who should be the test to see if he can reach the next step? Maniacs, can you help out?