When Mike Swick steps inside the Octagon on August 4 at The Staples Center in Los Angeles it will be the first time he has done so in 30 months. For those who aren’t mathematically inclined, that’s two-and-a-half years since Swick faced Paulo Thiago as an injury replacement for Josh Koscheck at UFC 109.
Fighters for the most part have short careers and for Swick to have missed so much time smack dab in the middle of his prime could have been a complete and utter travesty. Thankfully this story seems to have gotten a happy ending to it.
Fans were first introduced to the man they call “Quick” during the first season of The Ultimate Fighter where he competed as a very undersized light heavyweight. After the show was over he dropped down to middleweight where he fought a total of five times. From there he made the drop down to welterweight which seemed to be the more suitable weight class for his 6’1” frame.
He won his first four bouts at 170 before dropping a title eliminator fight to Dan Hardy at UFC 105 via unanimous decision. It was during that time when Swick first started to feel something was wrong with his body. Maybe it was the weight cut, maybe he was just really sick, but after losing his next fight to the aforementioned Thiago, Swick knew it was something serious.
After countless doctor visits and fears that his career may be over, the Houston, Texas native is ready to resume his career and do what he does best, put on exciting fights for his fans. No one knows what to expect when the cage door closes and the bell rings, but one thing is for sure, whatever may happen to him inside the Octagon is nothing compared to what he’s gone through outside of it. Now that all of that is behind him he can look forward to competing once again.
“I feel great, this fight camp has been so beautiful,” Swick told MMAFrenzy. “It feels so amazing to be so close to getting back inside the Octagon. It’s been so long since the last time I was in there competing. I could not be more excited about this fight.”
Swick chronicled the stomach ailments he was going through on Facebook and remained in the eyes of his fans using social media, but to hear him describe what he went through both mentally and physically shows just how strong of a person he truly is.
“I was going through health issues for awhile, pretty much all through my time as a welterweight,” Swick explained. “Things just kept getting worse so I decided it was in my best interest that I take some time off to address the problems I was having. I needed to figure out how to combat the problem and get my health back. I had to figure what foods were safe for me to eat and I thought that we had gotten it under control so we signed on to fight in July of last year.
“I was scheduled to face Erick Silva at UFC 134 in Brazil and we went through a whole fight camp and I felt great. Then with about two weeks left before the fight I took a hit to the side of my knee and blew out my ACL, tore my MCL and my meniscus. I had to have my knee rebuilt and was forced to start the whole process over again. It takes an entire year to recover from an injury like that.”
When athletes miss a significant amount of time you hear them talk about how much they miss competing and just going to the gym every day to train. Swick missed all of that and then some, but thankfully had a lot of support and that allowed him to stay focused on getting healthy enough to fight again. Even though he had every reason to be down he still put the needs of others before his own.
“I did whatever I could do to stay active and in the gym,” Swick said. “When I couldn’t walk or do anything I did a lot of support tours for the military. I went overseas and visited the troops. I spent a lot of time in Thailand and did some business there. I am also looking at opening up a gym and put a lot of energy in to making that happen. I just tried to stay busy while at the same time get back to 100%. It’s been a good year as far as getting healthier and learning. I really grew as a person and as a fighter. I think this is a great time for me to come back, I’m really excited about fighting and not being a spectator anymore.”
“I’ve done a few tours in Iraq and I just got back from a trip I took to Afghanistan,” Swick said proudly. “All in all I’ve done 15 overseas tours to ten different countries. The military personnel are really big fight fans and they watch it all the time. I’ve been to a few forward operating bases that are in the middle of the war zone and they don’t have too many troops there. Then I’ve gone to the big bases and done some seminars, but no matter where we go they show so much appreciation for us coming there. It’s an honor for me to visit them and try and lift their spirits any way that I can. I look at what I’ve gone through and realize it’s easy compared to what they do and how they are away from their families for so long.”
The 14-4 Swick is scheduled to take on Damarques Johnson at next weekend’s event. The two will face off as part of the preliminary portion of the card airing on Fuel TV.