jeremy-stephens-ufc-on-fox-10

Jeremy Stephens is on a high heading into his UFC Fight Night 44 headliner with Cub Swanson. And if all goes according to plan, he won’t be coming down anytime soon.

The first main event of Stephens’ 18-fight UFC career takes place Saturday, and “Lil’ Heathen” is beaming with confidence. The stakes are high with a featherweight title shot potentially on the line, but that hasn’t shaken Stephens’ (23-9 MMA, 10-8 UFC) mindset going into what he views as a favorable matchup with Swanson (20-5 MMA, 5-1 UFC).

“I feel like my MMA game overall is better,” Stephens told MMAjunkie. “I’m a better wrestler, I’m the more explosive striker, and I can beat him with basics. I can rip his arm off; I can do it all. I’ve been there, I’ve fought the top guys, I’ve been at this level for a long time, I’ve been a lot more active, and I feel like I’ll be the biggest, stronger, faster MMA fighter, and I’ll be the better man that night. I can’t wait to prove it.”

Stephens has every right to be confident going into Saturday’s main event, which tops the FOX Sports 1-televised main card at San Antonio’s AT&T Center. He’s undefeated since dropping to the featherweight division this past year and has dominated each opponent in the process.

The 28-year-old hit several snags during his UFC tenure as lightweight, and at times, it looked like his hope for a title shot wouldn’t materialize. While the change in weight classes may have revitalized Stephens’ career to outsiders, he said he never doubted his abilities, even at the low points, including an arrest during a three-fight losing streak in 2012.

“Never have I lost faith, or I just would have given up a while ago or given up in my downtime or given up when I’ve been down financially,” Stephens said. “That’s never the case, man. Fighting’s just something that I’ve been born to do, bred to do, and it’s just something I really love and have a lot of passion about.

“Fighting’s my passion. I really care for it a lot. I love the training, and I love fighting. It’s fun, and it comes easy and natural to me. I’ve never thought about giving up, not one time, and it’s all part of the game. It’s been a good learning experience,and I’ve taken a lot from the losses, and it’s made me a better man today.”

Stephens has picked up the pieces since that losing streak and turned things around. His path of success has led him to Swanson, who is on a respectable climb back up the ladder in his own right.

Of a combined 43 professional wins, Stephens and Swanson have stopped 23 opponents by knockout. Those numbers have all the makings for a memorable stand-up affair, something Stephens would relish.

While Swanson has knocked out his opponent in four of his five UFC victories, Stephens believes he has the advantage if the fight stays on the feet. More specially, he thinks his one-shot, fight-ending power will be an X-factor in his favor should Swanson choose to engage on the feet.

“When you look at my fights and I knock people out, they go out,” Stephens said. “They have to get woken up. As compared to when he knocks people out, they’re just kind of dazed and still wobbly, but they’re still up and still conscious. That’s not me talking sh-t or anything false, that’s an actual true statement.

“When I knock people out, they’re asking, ‘What happened? Did I fight yet?’ They’re just trying to get their wits about them. It’s not a sh-t-talking statement; that’s a true statement. It’s been proven. I have the more explosive power, and he utilizes a lot of footwork and movement, but I can cut him off and counter him and overall play my game. I feel like if he wants to play the stand-up game, he’ll figure out real quick after I hit him one time who the more powerful and explosive striker.”

When judging how their styles mesh, it’s hard to see the 145-pound contest ending anywhere but on the feet. Each man has only been stopped with strikes once in their respective careers, which means a 25-minute brawl is a realistic possibility.

Stephens won’t be aiming for a decision victory, though. If he wants the next crack at the featherweight title, he must make a statement to the fans and UFC brass.

“I can knock him out in the first, the third or the fifth round,” Stephens said. “I feel like I’ll be able to do whatever I want. If I want to take it to the mat, I’ll take it to the mat. If I want to keep it standing, I can keep it standing. If I’m hitting him that hard and he wants to shoot on my ankles, I’ll be able to stuff him, take him down and ground and pound him. He’s been submitted in the past, and I feel like I can submit him. I feel like I can rough him up, cut him up, ground and pound him.

“I can do whatever I want in this fight, and I’m very confident in doing so. I know I can do it. It’s getting down to the time where I go out there and shock the world with it.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 44, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Alex Oliveira vs. Piotr Hallman set for UFC Fight Night 77

  • 5 days ago
  • 0 views

Alex Oliveira is heading back to lightweight after a run of two straight wins at welterweight when he faces Piotr Hallman at UFC Fight Night 77.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC 191: Johnson vs. Dodson 2 Extended Video Preview

  • 6 days ago
  • 12 views

The biggest flyweight fight in the world will be heading to Las Vegas as Demetrious Johnson defends his strap for the seventh time against John Dodson in the main event of UFC 191. read news >>

Frankie Edgar ready to fight Max Holloway or Jeremy Stephens at TUF 22 Finale

  • 7 days ago
  • 2 views

Frankie Edgar’s answer remains the same after another callout: yes.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC Fight Night 74 Results: Burning Questions Heading into UFC 191

  • 7 days ago
  • 0 views

UFC Fight Night 74 is in the books. The results are as follows: Main Card (Fox Sports 1) Max Holloway def. Charles Oliveira by TKO via injury at 1:39 of Round 1 Neil Magny def. Erick Silva by split d read news >>

UFC Fight Night 74 Preliminary Card Predictions

  • 12 days ago
  • 14 views

The UFC will be heading to Saskatchewan this weekend as UFC Fight Night 74 comes to you live this Saturday. Headlined by featherweight contenders Max Holloway and Charles Oliveira, the night looks to read news >>

UFC Fight Night 73 Results: Burning Questions Heading into UFC Fight Night 74

  • 22 days ago
  • 14 views

UFC Fight Night 73 is in the books. The results are as follows (c/o Bleacher Report play-by-play man Craig Amos): Main Card on FOX Sports 1 Glover Teixeira def. Ovince Saint Preux, submission (Round read news >>