From a very young age, UFC featherweight Cub Swanson knew he was destined to become a professional athlete of some kind.
If you had told Swanson he'd be fighting inside an Octagon for one of the world's fastest growing organizations such as the UFC, he'd probably say you're crazy.
But that's exactly what Swanson will be doing when he takes on George Roop at UFC on FOX 2 on Saturday, Jan. 28th.
UFC on FOX 2 will take place at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois beginning at 5 p.m. PT and 8 p.m. ET.
In a recent interview with Bleacher Report's Garrett Derr, Swanson discussed how his unexpected journey led him to a career inside the Octagon.
"I always thought I would make it as a professional athlete but I thought it would be playing soccer," said Swanson. "I decided to pursue MMA after training Brazilian jiu-jitsu for about a year and seeing my first fight. I told myself, that looks scary but I think I could do that."
"So, I started training MMA and those around me started telling me I had potential. I started to think I could maybe make it a career, but it wasn't a popular sport at the time. I knew the sport would be huge someday and I figured I could make it big right as the sport got big," stated Swanson.
At first glance, Swanson's track record has caused many to mistake him for just another average fighter.
However, Swanson has fallen to the jaws of defeat to some of the greatest martial artists of all time in Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes and Jens Pulver.
Swanson's stiff competition has come to prove that Zuffa has a great deal of confidence in his talents and ability.
"I believe the UFC knows I'm capable of fighting the top guys and that I'm willing to take them all on. There aren't any easy fights in Zuffa," said Swanson. "It's the greatest fighters in world trying to see who's the best of the best."
While Swanson's No. 1 priority is to have his hand raised, he feel he owes the fans an exciting fight in the process.
"I've always believed that fighters owe the fans a show. I'm a fighter and my job is to beat the man in front of me, but, I want to do it in a way that is memorable to people," stated Swanson.
"Cub" will have the opportunity to give the fans what they desire when he meets Roop in a featherweight showdown in front of a sold out United Center.
Swanson recognizes Roop as a serious contender in the 145-pound weight division as he's coming off an impressive performance against Hatsu Hioki at UFC 137.
However, Swanson feels he has what it takes to get his first Octagon victory when the two meet in a few short days.
"George did great in that fight and I thought he won, but that was a completely different fight than what ours will be like," said Swanson. "Obviously his reach will be a factor in this fight but I'm not overly concerned."
"I really love this matchup because Roop is always game to brawl and that gets me fired up for this fight. I'm the more complete fighter and I have the tools to shut him down," stated Swanson.
Swanson's main goal for his FOX debut is simple.
"I really want to show the fans that he isn't on my level and that I'm a much better fighter," said Swanson. "I just really want to smash this kid."
Over the course of his career, for some reason or another, Swanson has developed a somewhat "mean" personality or is at least portrayed that way.
But that isn't who Swanson is at all, as looks can be deceiving.
"I think fans see me fight and think I'm a very mean and intense person but in reality I'm very shy, quite and laid back."
"I want all the fans to know that this is not just a job but it's my life. I have sacrificed so much to be here in the UFC and all I want is to entertain them," stated Swanson.
At just 28 years of age, Swanson clearly has much more to offer to the sport of MMA and feels that he is just getting started.
As time progresses, Swanson is determined to make every moment count as he knows in a blink of an eye it could all be over.
"I want people to remember me as being an exciting fighter and that I fight my heart out every time I'm out there," stated Swanson. "For myself I want to retire knowing I reached my full potential as a martial artist, so that I can move on to my next chapter in life."
Swanson concluded by stating,
"I don't want to ever wonder if I could've done more."
For additional information, follow Garrett Derr on Twitter.