Jeremy Stephens has seriously turned a corner in his mixed martial arts career. He went from a middle of the pack lightweight to a legitimate contender at Featherweight. Even at Lightweight, Stephens fought the best of the best. He faced off with Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis, and Joe Lauzon. While he lost to all three of those guys, the losses were competitive and Stephens had his moments in the fight. It seems that the switch to Featherweight has not only given him a new shot at a career, but has given him some serious confidence.
Stephens is now fighting like his life depends on it. I think he may have been initially afraid that the weight cut would affect his power, but it has not in any way. Stephens can still throw bombs and instead of him being an undersized guy in the division, he is now the monster and is able to really toss guys around. He now finds himself in a title contention fight with Cub Swanson, who is having the best 2 years of his life, putting on spectacular performances against the who’s who of the Featherweight division.
Swanson has been calling for a title fight for a little over a year now, and I think that UFC brass is looking to see if either Stephens or Swanson is able to dominate the other. I think Stephens has serious shot of running away with this fight. When Swanson fights an offensive fighter, he tends to get gun shy and hesitates to get his offense going. Luckily for Stephens, fighting forward is his game. If Stephens is able to take Swanson down for good measure, well then that would only drive the point home. It’s possible, and I hope to see it.