The featherweight division has become one of the most competitive under the UFC banner, and Cub Swanson and Dennis Siver are both gunning for title contention.
On Saturday night at UFC 162 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, it was Swanson who took the next step as he scored a third-round knockout over Siver.
The bout was even at one round apiece going into the final frame, but the Palm Springs native turned up the intensity of his attack in the third round and put Siver away in brutal fashion. The victory was the fifth consecutive win for the Jackson's MMA product and will lock him into the title picture at 145 pounds.
What We Learned About Cub Swanson
Confidence means everything inside the Octagon, and right now, Swanson's cup is overflowing. With proven one-shot knockout ability and one of the most unpredictable striking attacks in the 145-pound division, the 29-year-old Californian is dangerous every second he's competing inside the cage.
Throughout the bout with Siver on Saturday night, Swanson's unorthodox striking kept Siver off balance. Using his unique blend of speed and power, the surging featherweight landed heavy shots every time he chose to throw them.
The victory over Siver at UFC 162 was Swanson's fifth consecutive. As his success continues, Swanson's belief in those versatile skills has risen as well, and the progression of "Killer Cub" continues to shine through.
What We Learned About Dennis Siver
Disadvantages in size and reach lead Siver to make the drop to featherweight in the hopes he would be able to even out the playing field in a lighter weight class.
While the 34-year-old German-born striker was able to make good in matchups against Diego Nunes and Nam Phan, Cub Swanson has one of the best stand-up games in the featherweight division, and Siver was never able to get into a rhythm.
Siver's compact frame made it difficult for him to close the distance on Swanson, and he paid the price in the exchanges. In order for Siver to make the climb into the upper tier of the division, he will need to increase his speed, and that can be a difficult adjustment to make in his mid-30s.
What Is Next for Cub Swanson
The title picture in the featherweight division is backed up at the current time with champion Jose Aldo preparing to lock up with Chan Sung Jung at UFC 163 in August and Ricardo Lamas waiting to find out who he will fight in his next outing. This leaves Swanson hovering somewhere in title contention limbo.
Two years ago, a five-fight winning streak would have guaranteed Swanson a title shot, but with the current situation at 145 pounds, Swanson is most likely one or two wins away.
That being said, he's definitely on the radar for a title shot and facing the winner of Chad Mendes vs. Clay Guida would make sense. With Mendes and Guida set to mix it up at UFC 164, the timing would line up perfectly.
What Is Next for Dennis Siver
While the loss to Swanson will knock Siver out of the title race, it won't bump him out of the top 10 rankings in the featherweight division. Baring any injury from the bout at UFC 162, Siver could possibly face the loser of the Mendes vs. Guida bout later this year.