Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Catching up quick with Mike Swick

By Brady Crytzer

Since fans around the world first met Houston native Mike Swick, on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, the 27-year-old middleweight has jumped from hopeful to contender right before their eyes.

Swick first made waves fighting at light heavyweight, 20 pounds above his natural class of 185 pounds in the reality series, but came up short to eventual runner-up Stephan Bonnar. Though disappointed with the loss, Swick earned a new name for himself by knocking out his first two UFC opponents in less than 45 total seconds. Now known for his hands, Swick showed the world his versatility submitting Canadian Steve Vigneault and the always dangerous Joe “Diesel” Riggs, in two minutes apiece. In his last outing, Swick made a major step up in class winning a unanimous decision over former title challenger David “The Crow” Loiseau.

Now, in front of his hometown fans, Swick will prepare to do battle with the dangerous Japanese star Yushin Okami at UFC 69: Shootout, live from the Toyota Center on Saturday, April 7th.

Originally slated to face Okami at UFC 68: The Uprising in March, a disappointed Swick had to fall out of the bout due to injury. Swick remained quiet about the severity of the incident and appears ready to move on.

“It was my left hand,” Swick says. “I damaged some ligaments. It’s better now.”

In an time when current 185 lb. champion Anderson Silva’s single win over Chris Leben granted him an immediate title shot, it is hard not to be empathetic for Mike Swick, now unbeaten in UFC combat. Despite the wait, Swick is still in good spirits.

“I try not to think about it.” Swick comments. “Right now I am only thinking about Yushin Okami.

“Without I win over him I definitely won’t get my shot.”

In recent months, the UFC has ventured out from their normal stopping grounds of Las Vegas to experiment in new parts of the country. In March, UFC 68 scored an all-time high attendance record for a mixed martial arts event in North America with over 19,000 eager fans selling out the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, to witness Randy Couture’s historic victory over Tim “The Maine-iac” Sylvia. The UFC is broadening its domestic horizons and Swick feels like he is reaping the benefits.

On April 7th, in front of his hometown fans at the Toyota Center in Houston, Swick will meet his toughest opponent yet in the most important fight of his life.

“I don’t feel much pressure about fighting in front of my home crowd,” says Swick. “They stand behind me either way. I am however very excited to put on a great show for them!”

American Kickboxing Academy teammate and friend Josh Koscheck is having the unique experience of sharing this training camp with Swick in preparation for his April 7th clash with The Ultimate Fighter winner Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez. As a team, they support each other, and Swick is eager the spread the word.

“Josh is a great training partner and a very determined athlete,” Swick says. “It’s good being around guys that are so motivated and competitive like he and Jon Fitch.

“I think Josh is going to beat Sanchez. I also think he will surprise a lot of people with how much he has improved in all areas.”

For more info on Mike Swick, check out his new revamped website at

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