Though he was able to raise his current winning streak to four with an undefeated 2016, bantamweight Steve Swanson is not pleased with how the year turned out overall.
Despite his recent success, Swanson doesn’t feel like he’s been able to make the kind of progress he’s wanted to in MMA over the past couple years.
“2016 was a lot of ups and downs for me,” Swanson told MMAWeekly.com. “More down I would say. I had some fights, but they weren’t the opponents that we wanted. I was basically tired of fighting these guys – no disrespect to them – who aren’t up to par.
“We’ve been trying to move up the ranks for a while, but there were just no fights. I was definitely looking at other options and other things to do. I tried my hand in construction – which I hated – and different things.”
Having seemingly given up on fighting as a career, Swanson was surprised when Combate Americas reached out to him and offered a main event fight on its upcoming Mexican debut.
“When this came about, I was totally caught off guard,” said Swanson. “My mindset was that I was pretty much done with (MMA) and I needed to set my mind towards providing for myself and my wife. I’m excited to be part of something new, something big, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Being the brother of top ranked UFC veteran Cub Swanson, it has definitely helped Steve be ready for such a big opportunity.
“I started in the fight game later than (my brother), and without his guidance and some of my other coaches I wouldn’t have grown as fast in such a short amount of time,” Swanson said. “I credit him a great deal for how far I’ve come.”
On Thursday in Mexico City, Swanson (14-2) will face Gustavo Lopez (6-2) in a 135-pound main event of Combate Americas DIEZ, to be broadcast on UFC Fight Pass and Azteca America.
“I’ve just got to play my game and be smart,” said Swanson of facing Lopez. “I definitely feel like I can pull out a W from this guy. I think that he’s a great opponent, but I’m ready to go to war no matter what.”
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Having had problems in the past making headway in his MMA career, Swanson is cautious, and takes each opportunity as they come rather than making long term plans for himself.
“I’m going about it a little different than how I did in the past, because it didn’t seem to work that way,” Swanson said. “I just want to have fun, go fight by fight, work my butt off for each one, and if it comes, it comes, and I’ll be happy for the result.”