The Improved Knockdown fighter and mauler feat modifies the Knockdown feat action, specifically
You can dash your foe to the ground with a single blow. When you use Knockdown, instead of making a Strike followed by a Trip, you can attempt a single Strike. If you do and your Strike hits, instead of rolling a check for your Trip attempt, you automatically apply the critical success effect of a Trip. If you used a two-handed melee weapon for the Strike, you can use the weapon's damage die size instead of the regular die size for the damage from a critical Trip.
Notably, this doesn't say you make a Strike followed by a Trip any more - does this mean taking Improved Knockdown reduces the attack penalty "cost" of the knockdown action from two attacks to only one?