Sunday, March 11, 2007

Nothing quick about Swick's road to title fight

By Steve Sievert

Mike Swick is less than enamored with his place in the middleweight queue.

Actually, to be more specific, it sucks.

"Yeah, it kind of sucks hearing all these other guys that are lining up for title shots; you know, Marquardt, now Franklin. So, I don't know where I'm going to fit into the group. But, I'm a fighter and this is my job, so I'm just going to have to keep fighting who they tell me and, eventually if I deserve it, I'll get there. In the meantime, I'm entertaining people - that's my job, and I'm fighting tough guys."

Yushin Okami is the tough guy up next for Swick, as "Quick" makes a long-awaited return to his native Houston to fight on the UFC 69 card.

Swick has done everything the UFC has asked of him, racking up five consecutive wins after breaking into the promotion during the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. However, he's been dropped down a notch or two in the middleweight division due to circumstances beyond his control.

His fight against David Loiseau last September was billed as his final step before a title shot. Swick won the bout, but Loiseau looked like a spent fighter that Swick couldn't finish. To add to his admittedly uninspiring performance, Swick came out of the bout with a hand injury. Couple that with the rise of Anderson Silva, Nate Marquardt and Jason MacDonald, and Swick became the middleweight division's forgotten man for a few months.

Swick has the chance to change all of that with a win over Okami. But even a W won't result in an immediate title fight. Marquardt gets first dibs. He's expected to meet Silva at UFC 72 in June.

The outcome of that bout could produce a couple of different scenarios. If Silva wins, it's a virtual lock that Franklin gets next in a fight that UFC President Dana White says will take place in Cincinnati (fall would be a likely timeframe).

However, if Marquardt beats Silva - and I give him a real shot to do so - then why not give Swick the title fight and have Silva and Franklin meet in an eliminator? Fans want to see Silva-Franklin 2 and it would still be a big fight even without championship implications.

Buckle up for a potentially entertaining ride in the 185-lb. division over the next several months.

1 comment:

chumly said...

Good stuff lately in boxing.