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Swick quick to return

Story by Andreas Hale
Photo by Chris Cozzone

It must have been difficult for Mike “Quick” Swick to watch his opportunity to fight Georges St. Pierre and a shot at welterweight title fade away after an unlikely turn of events that put him on the outside looking in.

Swick was originally scheduled to face Martin Kampmann at UFC 103. But when Swick went down with an injury, Paul Daley would step in, blowout Kampmann and shake up the welterweight division. Swick would get his opportunity to face GSP again when he replaced an injured Kim Dong-hyun to face Dan Hardy at UFC 105. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be Swick’s night as Dan Hardy earned the unanimous decision victory and the shot at the welterweight crown. Rather than take the time off that he initially planned, Swick will jump back into the Octagon after his AKA teammate Josh Koschek would have to bow out of his rematch with Paulo Thiago due to injury.

“I hate sitting on losses,” Swick says regarding his upcoming fight with Thiago at UFC 109 in Las Vegas on February 6. “It’s an opportunity to get a win and get myself back on the winning track.”

It’s an interesting match for Swick as he will be the third fighter from the American Kickboxing Academy that Paulo Thiago has fought in his four fights in the UFC. Thiago owns a knockout victory over Koschek but was soundly outgrappled against Jon Fitch at UFC 100. With Thiago now 1-1 against the AKA stable, Swick finds that he will be representing the tiebreaker when they meet on Feb 6.

Taking all things into consideration, Swick made it a point to train heavily with the only man who has defeated Thiago as he heads into this bout.

“Training with Fitch is amazing because not only did he beat him, he beat him at his own game,” Swick explains. “He’s been helping me with Thiago’s strengths, how his hip movement is, his grappling and everything else. We’ve been working really hard.”

With all the assistance courtesy of Fitch, Swick admits that he won’t be looking to take this fight to the mat, but has no fear that he can handle Thiago’s stellar jiujitsu.

“I’m not going to go out there and try to wrestle him,” Swick concedes. “But I feel confident if it does go (to the ground) and I can showcase some of my jiujitsu ability. I have never fought a jiujitsu black belt in the UFC.”

A victory against Thiago would be a great accomplishment, but if Swick can look stellar and find a way to stop the Brazilian, he knows that his stock could rise in dramatic fashion.

“I really want to get a knockout,” he says. “But I’m not underestimating his standup. It’s very unorthodox. He showed that against Koscheck and a couple of other guys. I’m looking to beat him standing up though.”

If Swick does get past Thiago, the possibility of fighting for the welterweight title is an interesting one, considering that his teammates Fitch and Koscheck currently own the top two contender slots and AKA team members have made it clear that they will not fight each other. But Swick could honestly care less about the title shot at this point and time. What he wants is redemption and a rematch with Hardy.

“There’s no one in the world I want to fight more than Dan Hardy. I want that rematch bad,” Swick says. “I didn’t represent out there very well. It wasn’t my normal self and that was frustrating as well as getting beat by someone that I’m better than. Nine out of ten times I win that fight.”

Swick’s 2010 plan is simple: Get past Paulo Thiago and get his revenge against Dan Hardy. Anything else is not of importance.

“Let’s get past Thiago first and see what happens after that.”

This is Mike “Quick” Swick’s redemption song and he hopes the Welterweight division is listening.

 

 


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