Swanson’s knee rehab also forced the 37-year-old fan favorite to work on his mind. Subsequently, the journey back has helped Swanson become what he believes to be the best version of “Killer Cub” that we’ve ever seen.

“This is what I need to do to complete my journey back. I need to get a fight and get a win and make myself feel validated in that,” Swanson told UFC.com. “Being at this point in my career, I really feel like I’m the best version of myself. My ultimate goal has always been to be the best version of myself; I’ve always said that and that’s still my goal. I still feel like I can have better performances than I’ve had in the past and that’s my real motivation.”

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That fire to compete helped push Swanson to keep icing his knee four or five times a day for a year, pushed him to complete physical therapy and develop trust in his abilities once again. That mental battle wasn’t an easy one to win, but it definitely was one that helped Swanson remember just how much he loved the fight game.

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