This Wednesday night, as featherweight MMA combatant Cub Swanson takes on Chad Mendes at WEC 50: Cruz vs. Benavidez II at the Palms Resort in Las Vegas, the goal is clear that this fight is all part of the bigger picture of getting another crack at current featherweight king, Jose Aldo.
As followers of the WEC know, Swanson's initial clash with Aldo was short-lived, lasting a mere eight seconds, as Aldo landed a double flying knee to end Swanson's evening, leaving Swanson to go back to the drawing board.
He fared much better in his return to the cage five months later when he submitted John Franchi via guillotine choke with just 10 seconds left in their three round contest.
Following the the over Franchi, Swanson was originally slated to take on the always durable Korean, Jung Chan-Sung, back in April. Injuries suffered to the hands of Swanson forced him out of the bout causing him to be sidelined for an additional four months.
"As a fighter, your hands are always hurting. I'm used to it now. They've healed completely now. Fact is, back when it happened, I knew I was going to break them. I went back to camp [following the Franchi fight] early that I was supposed to and caught and rebroke them.
"I had to go see the doc and he notified the WEC of my injury. It's really not a big deal, I've broken my hands eight times now, and I'm actually 4-0 in fights where I've broken them.
"Camp has been great. I feel completely prepared for Chad. I let my body heal completely and I'm ready for a war. I've been getting in a lot of sparring and getting in other work with Aaron Riley and Clay Guida," Swanson recently revealed in an interview with Bleacher Report.
Guida, who recently joined the Jackson Submission Fighting team prior to his bout with Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 117: Silva vs. Sonnen, was a very welcome and helpful addition in the eyes of Swanson.
"For the first half on my training camp I played the role of Dos Anjos and for the second half of my camp Guida helped me out for my fight by replicating Mendes and giving me some good work on the wrestling side of things," Swanson revealed.
No matter what aspect of the game that Guida is helping you out with, the one thing you can be absolutely sure of it that he'll have you prepared to work every second of every round, as Guida's non-stop work rate has become a trademark of sorts.
"I'm definitely prepared for and expecting a three round war. Don't get me wrong, I would love to have an early night, but if that's not the case I'll be fine. I'm ready to give it my all for three hard rounds if I have to.
"When the bell rings I'm just going to play it by ear. I'm confident that I've trained in all areas of my game. He's got that collegiate wrestling background and if he takes it to the ground I'll be confident fighting on my back if need be.
"I definitely have the edge in striking and I'm hoping I can catch him with a punch or elbow, open up a cut and get him rattled early on then maintain that advantage."
In addition to having the edge in striking, another thing that Swanson can use to his advantage on fight night is the fact that he has ten more professional bouts despite only being a year older than Mendes.
"Being the more experienced fighter absolutely gives you added confidence. If things get a little tough in there I'm not going to panic or anything like that, I'll be able to keep my cool and figure out what I have to change. I've faced a few wrestlers before and I've always done well. This isn't going to be any different."
Despite sounding calm, cool and collected during the duration of our interview, Swanson makes it clear that he knows just how important a win against Mendes on Wednesday night will be. It's not at all lost on him that in order for him to achieve the goals he has set for himself as a fighter, he's going to have to perform against Mendes first.
"I know I can beat Mendes, and this fight will just prove that to any of the doubters. I'll be able to show people what I'm capable of at my full potential. It will be a good opportunity to show all of the up and comers that I'm better than they are. A win here puts me in the mix at the top of the division," forecasts Swanson.
While there are plenty of appealing match ups to be made for Swanson in the featherweight division, the Palm Springs native has his sights set on just one.
"Everything I do in the gym before the fight and everything I do in the cage under the bright lights gets me closer to my ultimate goal, which is to get another shot at Jose Aldo, and this time it will be for the title."