Photo by Justin Grant. Courtesy of MikeSwick.com
Imagine you naturally weigh around 180 lbs. In a fight game where all of the athletes basically fight below their natural weight in order to use their size as an advantage, imagine fighting a weight class above yours and even a higher weight class than that just to participate in a reality show.
This was the situation that Mike Swick found himself in for nearly three years. After originally participating at 205 lbs during the first season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’, Swick dropped down to middleweight where he went on a five-fight winning streak, defeating former title contenders Joe Riggs and David Loiseau along the way before finally running into Yushin Okami.
To say that Okami brought it to Swick is an understatement. Plain and simple, Okami pushed Swick around. Realizing that he still had the opportunity to finally fight a tad below his natural weight, Swick opted to make the drop to welterweight, the UFC’s most crowded and talented division.
Swick’s debut at 170 lbs will come later tonight, when he takes on fellow former Ultimate Fighter alumnus Josh Burkman in the main event of the twelfth edition of UFC Fight Night live on Spike TV.
According to the man they call “Quick”, we should all be prepared to watch an all-around better Mike Swick.
“I feel great going into this fight,” Swick told MMA on Tap during a recent interview session. “I had an awesome training camp, so many great guys to work with at AKA. I actually feel stronger than I did going into the Okami fight, which sounds a little weird considering that I’m dropping down a weight class for this one but it’s the truth. I feel stronger, faster, more explosive. This has the makings of being my best fight to date.”
When Swick fought at middleweight in the past, he’s stated many times that he didn’t have to cut any weight at all in most cases. If you haven’t done it before, cutting weight and then fighting the day after can be a lot to handle. However Swick says there’s nothing to worry about thanks to some good old practice.
“I’ve cut down to 170 lbs a few times while training for this fight and it went very smooth each time,” said Swick. “I felt fine afterwards and then went right back into sparring and training for other things right after so I don’t see any problems popping up.”
While Swick brings many tools to the table, one thing that has been lacking in his game has been solid wrestling. Unforunately for him, Burkman’s biggest strength is wrestling, being a former wrestler that has trained in the past with other talented grapplers at Team Quest.
“We’ve worked to develop a game plan that will bring out my strengths and allow me to impose my will on Josh,” Swick said. “I’m always working to improve my wrestling. Two of the best wrestlers in the UFC, Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch both train with me at AKA so I’m confident that my wrestling is always improving.”
At the end of the day, a fighter has to be confident that he’s going to be able to win in any fight that he’s going into. When there’s no added pressure going into the bout, it always makes things a lot easier.
“There’s no pressure going into this fight,” said Swick. “No pressure. I’m coming in with a clear mind and I’m very focused. I’m really excited to get back into the swing of things. I feel great. I’m going to try and finish the fight as fast as I can and as impressive as I can but I’m not going to make any mistakes in an attempt to do that. I don’t think this one will go the distance though. I feel I can finish him.”