Did anyone see Cub Swanson coming? No? Well, we can forgive you for that. Few saw Dennis Siver coming either. The tale of these two comebacks actually paints quite an interesting picture and, hopefully, a detail or two more about these fighters will help MMA fans understand just why people care so much about the upcoming UFC on Fuel TV 7 co-headliner.

This featherweight fight delivers intrigue for a number of reasons, not the least of which include how both fighters have fared in their recent bouts. Swanson knocked out Charles Oliveira at UFC 152, advancing to a three-fight winning streak, while Siver notched two unanimous decision wins over Diego Nunes and Nam Phan.

As a matter of fact, UFC matchmaker Joe Silva can thank the promotion’s loyal fan base for helping to create this co-headlining tilt, as fans emphatically shared their desire for Siver to face Swanson after Siver’s decision win over Phan at UFC on Fox 5 just a few weeks ago.

What about Swanson, though? Aside from the loss to Lamas, can we not agree that he’s come a long way from his now-famous loss to UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo? One can make the argument that he has shown some evolution and made some strides in turning his career around for sure.

Of course, fans will not immediately recall that his WEC 50 loss to Chad Mendes is sandwiched in between wins over John Franchi and Mackens Semerzier, but they will recall the Semerzier win for its action and its even-handedness. After his split decision victory over “Mack da Menace,” Swanson would not fight until his Nov. 12 bout on Fox against Lamas—one year and one day after he beat Semerzier, who actually fought on that same card against Robert Peralta.

Swanson’s current streak sticks out the most, however, and is one of the main reasons he’ll be looking for a win over Siver. Prior to his win over Oliveira earlier this fall, Swanson finished Ross Pearson at UFC on FX 4 in New Jersey and stopped George Roop on the Fuel TV portion of the UFC on Fox 2 card. While only Melvin Guillard can claim a TKO stoppage victory over Siver, Swanson possesses the sort of power, striking technique and killer instinct needed to force the referee’s intervention if he should find his mark against Siver.

Against the man who is potentially the most dangerous kickboxer in the featherweight division, Swanson and the Jackson/Winkeljohn camp benefit from planning well in advance for the sort of fight they can expect from the German-Russian bulldozer. While nobody knows how Siver’s submission game will threaten the 145-pound weight class, he shows more proficiency on the ground than what he showcased at lightweight. Siver’s striking remains a solid strategy as well against fighters who have and will continue to challenge him in his recently adopted weight class.

A win over Siver cements Swanson’s comeback and would likely mean that Swanson’s run to a dream fight with Frankie Edgar or a rematch with Aldo will include bouts with a number of the UFC’s other elite featherweights. Possible future opponents for Swanson could include the winner of UFC on Fox 6’s Clay Guida-Hatsu Hioki scrap, a potential rematch with Lamas—provided Lamas does not draw Mendes or the Aldo-Edgar winner with a win over Erik Koch—or even a bout with Chan-Sung Jung, if Jung does not get a title shot upon his return to the cage.

That said, however, what does the W mean for Siver?

Against a Jackson/Winkeljohn fighter on a three-win hot streak, the significance of a win means the same for Siver as it does for Swanson. Simply put: He who earns a win in England gets a fight with the fighters at the top of the 145-pound heap.

Of course, we can’t bank on the winner of this one absolutely beasting their way to victory, but we can always hope that this featherweight tilt delivers fireworks. When the smoke clears, we know someone will find himself one fight closer to a title shot. On the morning after UFC on Fuel TV 7, one of these two men will definitely give Aldo a reason to pay attention to them.

Photo: Cub Swanson (left), who could find himself in title contention talks with a UFC on Fuel TV 7 win over Dennis Siver (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.