It's difficult to bounce back and turn your career around in the sporting world after you've been down more often than not.
Combat sports aren't too kind to the body, alongside the mental and psychological preparations one must go through. It's one thing to be an aging combatant, past your prime with the glory days behind you, but for a young fighter who hasn't even reached his peek, it's tough to say if the athlete in question will ever get there.
With that being said, Cub Swanson must be glowing right now.
Here's someone who never really stood out in World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), except for his crushing seven-second loss to Jose Aldo, courtesy of a double flying knee. He also lost to Chad Mendes and the legendary Jens Pulver in the promotion, proving those competitors were a notch above "Cub."
His Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) career didn't begin too smoothly either, losing to Ricardo Lamas in 2011 via arm-triangle choke. Swanson wasn't terrible, but he simply couldn't be regarded as one of the best featherweight fighters out there.
Something must have went off in his head, because approximately two months later, he took out his frustrations on George Roop at UFC on FOX 2, followed by another technical knockout victory over Ross Pearson at UFC on FX 4.
Then, all hell broke loose.
He flattened Charles Oliveira at UFC 152 in the first round, crushing the Brazilian with a massive punch, and then outmatched Dustin Poirier and Dennis Siver in 2013.
This past weekend saw Swanson get his sixth consecutive victory at UFC Fight Night 44 from inside AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, coming back from two difficult rounds to beat Jeremy Stephens by unanimous decision. The fight was highly entertaining, and the Californian proved he could change the tune when the going got tough (watch the highlights here).
Before their main event, "Lil' Heathen" proclaimed he was told to expect a title shot with a win. Now, that may just be something he invented, because we didn't hear anything about Swanson's possible title fight if he emerged victorious.
With an undefeated streak over the past two and a half years under his belt, it's safe to say Swanson deserves the championship fight.
Other options include Frankie Edgar, who apparently is destined to defeat BJ Penn in a week's time at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19, or Chan Sung Jung. The promotion hasn't exactly confirmed Swanson's number one contendership, so there's a chance he may be asked to take another fight.
But the main event winner in San Antonio deserves the championship bout, with his win streak alone. He's defeated a number of solid featherweights in the Octagon, and his rejuvenation is simply unfathomable to imagine had you not seen it for yourself.
Plus, it's safe to say rematches against Aldo or Mendes would look a hell of a lot different if he were to compete against either of those guys in UFC.
His loss against Aldo can be found on YouTube, and it's quite painful to watch. He literally gets struck with the first blow of the fight, and his eye nearly explodes. He couldn't quite get it together against Mendes, suffering a unanimous decision loss a full year after being ousted by "Scarface."
Ultimately, the promotion must decide who deserves the fight, and something tells me they're waiting for the results of TUF 19 to unfold, since "The Answer" could be given an immediate title shot with a win over BJ Penn.
It seems odd, but seeing how Edgar delivers in the entertainment department when it comes to title fights, along with giving Aldo the stiffest test of the Brazilian's career, it wouldn't surprise me.
In spite of that, six wins should get you a crack at the gold no matter which division you compete in, and if the organization prides itself on making the fights fans want to see, they should own up and book the contest that makes the most sense right now.
But then again, beggars can't be choosers.
For extensive UFC Fight Night 44: "Swanson vs. Stephens" coverage, including results, post-fight recaps, and more, click here.