If there’s one thing that stands out to the UFC brass on the Contender Series, it’s finishes. And both TJ Laramie and Daniel Swain are no strangers to ending fights early.
Canada’s Laramie (11-3) and U.S.A.’s Swain (20-9-1) will square off in a featherweight bout on Week Two of Dana White’s Contender Series: Season Four on Tuesday night. The fight will take place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV.
Laramie, 22, said although he’s looking to lock down a UFC contract in front of Dana White himself, he’s treating it as any other fight, and believes his exciting style will speak for itself.
“I feel like I’m a pretty exciting fighter, for the most part. At the end of the day, the most important part is to win, obviously, because they’re more than likely not going to sign a loser to the contract. Being exciting, that’s just going to come with everything I plan to do as far as my gameplan,” said Laramie in an interview with MMA Empire.
“I feel like it’s just another fight, at the end of the day. If it’s anything like my last fight was, I feel like it’ll be a no-brainer I’ll get a contract.”
Throughout his 30-fight career, Swain, 29, has been known to step in on short notice on several occasions, while also finishing 17 of his 20 wins.
Swain said he believes he’s exactly what the UFC want in one of their fighters, both skill-wise and his willingness to fight anytime and anywhere.
“To be honest, I’m a little upset Dana’s making me do the Contender Series because I’m the guy he wants,” said Swain in an interview with MMA Empire.
“I’m the dude who fights guys on short notice; more than half of my losses are on less than two weeks notice. If you look at my finish rate, I have 20 professional wins and 17 of them are stoppages. That’s what I do; I’m kill or be killed out there.”
Laramie keeping it natural
While it’s not an official rule of the Contender Series, historically, finishing the fight goes a long way in increasing the chances of securing a UFC contract.
And while he knows the significance a finish could have, Laramie said he doesn’t feel the need to push harder to ensure he gets the finish, but rather let it happen naturally.
“I feel like if I just do my thing and fight my fight, it’ll be enough for them,” said Laramie.
“I’m not going to try and act out of character and risk losing for an exciting performance. If I just go in there and do what I need to do, it’ll be enough.”
Out of his 17 career finishes, 14 have come in the first round for Swain.
Laramie said he knows Swain is a fast starter, and is fully prepared for and expecting him to come out of the gates hard.
“He likes to get in there and get out pretty quick. I think his last ten fights haven’t gone to a decision,” said Laramie.
“I know he likes to get in there, get a quick submission, and make it a scramble. I expect him to start fast off the hop, if he fights like he has been in recent times.”
Despite being just 22 years old, Laramie already has 14 professional fights to his name, a number rarely seen for a fighter of his age.
Finding so much success and gaining so much experience at such a young age had Laramie on the UFC’s radar rather early in his career.
Laramie said although he’s feels this opportunity is overdue, he also wasn’t feeling any need to rush into a UFC career.
“I feel like this is a long time coming, but I’m only 22, so I’ve got plenty of time,” said Laramie.
“I was ready to just keep fighting; I just wanted to fight at this point,” said Laramie.
Swain fulfilling long-time goal
For Swain, fighting in the UFC has been a goal of his since his teenage wrestling days, a goal he has the chance to finally fulfill Tuesday night.
Swain said it feels amazing to have the chance to show the years of hard work and dedication were all worth it.
“I’m so excited. The first time I watched a UFC fight I was 13, and I said yep, that’s what I want to do when I’m done wrestling. Right there, that’s my calling,” said Swain.
“It’s a dream come true, but it’s also a great opportunity for me to teach my boys that it doesn’t matter if your dream is big or crazy. If you just keep trying, keep persisting, stay determined, and do the work, it’s going to happen for you.”
Throughout his career on the regional scene, Swain has competed all over the world against some of the best competition available.
With Laramie having fought primarily in and around his home province, Swain said he believes this step up in competition and the bigger stage will play a factor.
“He’s mostly just fought up in Canada and around his hometown. I’ve travelled the world; I’ve been to Japan three times, China three times, Russia three times, and the Middle East. I have no problem with what cage, ring or country it is. I’m going to go in there and do my job,” said Swain.
“He hasn’t dealt with that before. He hasn’t dealt with the big promotions or the strong guys that are just as confident as he is. He’s fighting guys that are 7-4 or 6-3, and these guys just aren’t the same level as I am.”
Given the strength of Laramie’s striking game, Swain said he expects him to want to keep the fight standing when the action starts.
But after a few minutes, Swain said he expects Laramie will abandon ship.
“I see him realizing quickly that this is more than he can chew. He’s had a very successful career as a young guy up in Canada, but I don’t think he’s fought anyone near as good as I am,” said Swain.
“I think he’s in for a rude awakening. He’s going to step in there and think things are going to go his way, and as soon as they stop going his way, I think he might be the first one to take a shot. If he keeps trying to land those big shots on me, but just gets peppered and peppered and peppered, I guarantee he might take a bad shot on me. And if you take a bad shot on me, the fight’s over.”
“I want to thank my wife and family for putting up with me during fight camp, all my coaches at Warrior Camp (Pablo Alfonso, Joel Thomas, Richie Whitson), and my training partners (Jake Lindell, Josh Rettinghouse, Mike Cyr). Follow Swain on social media: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM