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

UFC on Fox 21 Results: 5 Burning Questions Heading into UFC Fight Night 93

  • 29 days ago
  • 16 views

UFC on Fox 21 is in the books. The results are as follows (c/o Bleacher Report's very own Craig Amos): UFC on Fox 21 Main Card Demian Maia def. Carlos Condit, submission (Round 1, 1:52) Anthony Petti read news >>

Once He Steps in the Octagon, CM Punk Has Already Won

  • 26 days ago
  • 43 views

Heading into his MMA debut at UFC 203, former WWE Superstar CM Punk feels justified in his decision to leave the world of pro wrestling for something new. read news >>

Kyle O’Reilly Embraces the Convergence of Pro Wrestling and MMA

  • 24 days ago
  • 8 views

Heading into his match with UFC veteran Matt Riddle, Kyle O'Reilly embraces the convergence of pro wrestling and MMA. read news >>

UFC Fight Night 93 Results: 5 Burning Questions Heading into UFC 203

  • 22 days ago
  • 12 views

UFC Fight Night 93 is in the books. The results are as follows: Josh Barnett defeated Andrei Arlovski via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:53 of the third round. Alexander Gustafsson defeated Jan B read news >>

Zac Riley Used to Underdog Role Heading into RFA 43 Against Boston Salmon

  • 18 days ago
  • 6 views

Zac Riley will look to pick up his third straight win for the RFA this Friday in Broomfield, Colorado, when he takes on another rising star in Boston Salmon. read news >>

Miocic counters Overeem talk of championship complacency

  • 18 days ago
  • 2 views

Alistair Overeem is in for a surprise if he really believes Stipe Miocic is distracted heading into his first title defense in his hometown. Miocic said as much Thursday at the UFC 203 pre-fight pres read news >>

Alexandre Bezerra Feels No Pressure Heading into Titan FC Title Fight | MMAWeekly.com

  • 17 days ago
  • 6 views

Alexandre Bezerra will look to keep his winning streak going when he makes his Titan FC debut on Friday to challenge Andre Harrison for the 145-pound title. read news >>

UFC 203 Results: 5 Burning Questions Heading into UFC Fight Night 94

  • 14 days ago
  • 10 views

UFC 203 is in the books. The results are as follows: UFC 203 Main Card Stipe Miocic def. Alistair Overeem, knockout (Round 1, 4:27) Fabricio Werdum def. Travis Browne, unanimous decision (29-27, 29-2 read news >>

UFC 203 Results: 5 Burning Questions Heading into UFC Fight Night 94

  • 14 days ago
  • 1 views

UFC 203 is in the books. The results are as follows: UFC 203 Main Card Stipe Miocic def. Alistair Overeem, knockout (Round 1, 4:27) Fabricio Werdum def. Travis Browne, unanimous decision (29-27, 29-2 read news >>

UFC Fight Night 94 Results: 5 Burning Questions Heading into Fight Night 95

  • 8 days ago
  • 12 views

UFC Fight Night 94 is in the books. The results are as follows: Main Card on Fox Sports 1 Michael Johnson def. Dustin Poirier, knockout (Round 1, 1:35) Derek Brunson def. Uriah Hall, TKO (Round 1, 1: read news >>