While inconsistency has plagued former XFC featherweight Daniel Swain over the past two years, he could have very much put himself back on track with a 67-second win in his most recent bout.
At King of the Cage: Steadfast this past August, Swain had his best performance in years when he defeated former WEC veteran Mike Joy just over a minute into their bout.
“I feel I performed well,” Swain told MMAWeekly.com. “My striking was on-point and I was able to put (Joy) away early.”
The win over Joy is in stark contrast to Swain’s previous bout with Jarred Mercado in the RFA in July, where he was held down much of the bout. It’s in response to Swain’s bout with Mercado that he has worked diligently to improve his ground game over the past several months.
“I feel this year my striking has really picked up and I’m a more-rounded fighter,” said Swain. “But ultimately I need to work on getting off my back.
“My only loss this year came to a guy (in Mercado) who laid on me for two rounds. I’ve been working a lot of that and jiu-jitsu and just getting back on my feet and getting back into my comfort zone.”
Swain (12-4) will seek to win his second fight in a row when he travels to St. Petersburg, Russia, on Dec. 17 to face Musa Khamanaev (15-3) at M-1 Challenge 54.
“He’s a skilled wrestler and sambo wrestler who likes to push the pace early and come forward and stalk his opponents,” Swain said of Khamanaev. “I feel like I can beat him everywhere though. I see a lot of holes in his game, so I’m going to exploit those holes and finish him.”
Having been a veteran of Pancrase and traveled overseas with teammates, Swain doesn’t feel the trip to St. Petersburg will be difficult for him to adjust to.
“I’ve fought in Japan twice and I’ve cornered in Japan and Russia, so the travel is not going to be an issue,” said Swain. “It will make weight cutting a little harder, but won’t be a big problem.”
A win over a top-level prospect like Khamanaev could very well be the key to Swain finally making a bigger impact on the international stage in 2015.
“I think it will springboard me to being one of the top contenders at 145 pounds that is not in the UFC, which I feel I am right now already,” said Swain. “A win over (Khamanaev) will solidify that thought in other people’s minds and not just my own.”