Almost four years after his UFC debut, Hacran Dias is still looking for his first stoppage victory inside the Octagon.
Matched up against some of the best featherweights in the UFC roster, and forced out of pivotal bouts with top contenders like Chad Mendes in the past, Dias went the distance in all of his UFC fights, racking up a 3-2 record. On Saturday night, he hopes to change that against Cub Swanson.
The Nova Uniao featherweight faces Swanson in the main card of UFC on FOX 19 in Tampa, and sees the bout as a chance to prove he’s one of the top featherweights in the world.
"He’s ranked No. 6 in the UFC, and I’m at No. 10, so it’s another good opportunity for me to test myself against the best. I want to be a top 5 by the end of the year," Dias told MMA Fighting. "I like the fight, it’s a good opponent. He’s coming off two losses, but you can’t underestimate him. I’m going there to do my best and bring the win."
Swanson enters the bout following a two-fight skid with submission losses to Frankie Edgar and Max Holloway, but Dias, a black-belt in jiu-jitsu, doesn’t see it as a reason to expect an easy win in Florida.
"We’re among lions at the top of the division, there’s no easy fight," he said. "He lost to two tough guys who are now close to the title, so it’s a tough opponent coming for a fight. I’m ready. He’s a brawler, really likes to fight and use his boxing. He moves a lot, so I have to follow my strategy and work hard. He leaves some openings on the ground, but he’s no fool. Those guys that submitted him are tough."
Swanson brings a 7-3 UFC record to the Octagon against Dias, and all of his losses have come by way of submission. One of the guys that finished him is Ricardo Lamas, who handed Dias his most recent loss in 2014.
"I’ve fought Lamas and he’s tough -- and I still think I won that fight," Dias said. "Anyway, he comes to brawl and I will use my boxing, fight smart and win. The division is stacked, and I want to be at the top."
Lamas defeated Dias via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 44, and even though he won a pair of decisions since, the Brazilian vows to try to finish his opponent every second of his fights now.
"I learned that lesson with Lamas," Dias said. "I thought he was going to stand more with me, but instead he grappled with me more than I wanted to grapple with him. I won’t leave in the hands of the judges anymore. I will attack him all the time so I finish him earlier."