This weekend original Ultimate Fighter alumnus Mike Swick will take to the Octagon after a lengthy layoff due to injury when he faces DaMarques Johnson at UFC on FOX 4. While plenty has changed since his stint on the groundbreaking reality show, one of the few constants remaining in Swick’s life has been his choice of training grounds.
Swick has been a long time member of the American Kickboxing Academy and was part of the “Big Three” welterweights along with Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch. Koscheck has packed up and opened up his own gym, but there are still plenty of great teammates to help prepare Swick for his return to action.
“There are a bunch of up and coming guys who have helped me out a lot along with the fighters who have been there with me since day one,” explained Swick in an interview with Fighters.com. “For this camp I trained a lot with Josh Thomson, Justin Wilcox and Davin Clark. We have such a huge camp so there is never a shortage of top talent to help you prepare for your fights. We are like a big family and are always looking to help each other get better. These guys have been by my side through thick and thin.”
Johnson is a formidable opponent for anyone in the UFC. He has the ability to knock his opponent out or end the fight by submission. It’ll be a tough test for Swick, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. He is confident that at the end of the night the fans will be sent home happy.
“I feel good about this match-up. I think stylistically this will be an exciting fight,” an eager Swick said. “He’s the type of fighter who likes to go in there and trade, he’s got an explosive, aggressive fighting style and I think it’ll be a win-win for the fans. We’re both going to go out there and try to finish the fight, but only one of us can succeed.”
Another big benefit of fighting on the Fox card for Swick is the fact that it will be held in Los Angeles which is in driving distance from San Jose. He’ll have a ton of support and “Quick” likes the fact that he doesn’t have to travel too far.
“It’s great, I’m really excited to have the chance to fight in L.A.,” offered Swick. “I’ve fought all over the world including twice in England and once in Germany. It’ll be nice to fight so close to home as I don’t like traveling a lot before my fights anyway. I’m just going to take a relaxing drive down to L.A. and have some fun while I’m there. L.A. is one of my favorite cities to visit. I can’t express just how excited I am to be part of this card.”
As the fight gets closer the butterflies will start to gather in his stomach, but as he has stated before he has gone through too much outside of the Octagon to let anything get to him inside of it. He wasn’t sure he would ever get back to this point and now that he’s so close, Swick has a lot to be grateful for.
“Obviously you’re always going to be nervous anytime you’re about to fight, but to be honest I’m excited more than anything else,” Swick admitted. “You’re going out there in a position where you can lose something you want and that something for me is to get my career back, but overall my nerves are pretty low on this one. That has a lot to do with all that I’ve been through these past two years. At the time of the Paulo Thiago fight I truly felt my career was going to be over. I thought I would never fight again and to be given a second chance to get my career back and fight in the UFC is awesome. I am also going in there with a body that is healthier than it has been in years.”
“I look at it as a win-win and I am very grateful. I’m going into this fight and every fight afterwards like it’s my last one because you never know what’s going to happen to you. There’s nothing stopping me from fighting for the next four or five years, but on the flip side nothing is guaranteed either. I’m going to make sure I leave everything I have inside of the Octagon just in case it is my last fight. I have to give a shout out to the fans and everyone who has supported me. It’s tough for people to remember who you are when you’re not fighting and you’re not on TV, but I’ve got a pretty loyal following and I have some great friends and family who have stood behind me 100%. I also have to thank the troops, they are the real heroes and I want to dedicate this fight to them and hopefully I’ll make them proud.”
Fans can catch Swick-Johnson on the network-portion of Saturday night’s card. The show is headlined by a bout between Mauricio Rua-Brandon Vera and also features Joe Lauzon-Jamie Varner as well as Ryan Bader-Lyoto Machida.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC