Mike Swick Talks UFC on FOX 5 Opponent Matt Brown: “I’ve fought many guys before that had never been knocked out, and ended up winning by KO”
By Tom Taylor
It’s been a difficult road for Mike Swick. After competing on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, and working his way up through the UFC welterweight division, he fell on hard times and was eventually put out of commission for over two years by injury and illness.
Finally, in August of this year, he made a triumphant return to competition, knocking DaMarques Johnson out cold in the second round of their fight at UFC on FOX 4. The KO marked Swick’s return to regular competition, and he will once again enter the cage at UFC on FOX 5, on December 8. This time, he will take on durable veteran Matt Brown in a fight that is sure to deliver. Now that he’s finally back in the swing of things, he says he’s feeling better than ever.
“It’s been good. I had surgery after the last fight, and got my body healthy again, and it’s been a great camp. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. I know it’s a cliché to say that, but I truly feel that way, and I think it will show on December 8.”
When he enters the cage on December 8, Swick will look to emulate the picturesque KO he dished out in his last fight— a victory he says was the most rewarding of his career.
“It was the best feeling I’ve ever had from a victory because of all that I went through. You think about coming back, and getting the KO, and being victorious, and being on a big card that’s viewed by a lot of people; for it to all come true in one moment, it was overwhelming. It was an incredible feeling.”
Not surprisingly, Swick found it difficult to be away from his sport for so long.
“It was tough to step away and become a fan for 910 days. I’ve been in martial arts my whole life, and I made it to the UFC, and I had all these fights in the UFC and worked my way up. Right at the peak, and right when everything was going great, the illness started. It was one thing after another, and then I found myself eventually away from the sport completely. It was tough being a fan, looking from the outside in, and sometimes wondering if I’d even be able to get back in there and perform and do what I love.”
Now, he is back in the midst of the sport he loves, and in two short weeks, he will enter the cage with one of the UFC’s scrappiest welterweights. Swick gives his upcoming opponent ample respect, and cites his well-roundedness as his greatest strength.
“He’s pretty well-rounded everywhere, so I’ve just got to be wary at all times and not be complacent. I know he’s going to push the pace, as I am, so I just want to make sure to keep my technique strong and not make any mistakes. I need to put that pressure on him, hard and fast,” said Swick.
And while he compliments Brown’s diverse arsenal, he feels he is a sharper striker than his opponent.
“I think an advantage I have is striking; I think that moving around, my footwork and speed are going to be the biggest advantage. And the ground game, I didn’t really get to showcase in the last fight, so I’m really excited if we do go to the ground, I’ll be able to showcase some of the stuff I’ve been working on there,” he said.
Even if Swick is the more technically proficient striker, against Brown, he will face a man who has yet to be KO’s in a 26-fight career. Swick is undaunted by his opponent’s iron jaw however, and is certain that he can be the first man to turn his lights out.
“You know, I never go into a fight thinking I can’t knock the guy out. I’ve fought many guys before that had never been knocked out, and ended up winning by KO. You can’t think that way, because anyone can be knocked out. But yeah, it would be a nice accolade to be the guy to [KO Brown]. I go into every fight assuming I can knock the person out. I think when you start thinking things are impossible to get, that’s when you start losing your ability to do it. With my speed and movement, landing that big bunch is just a matter of finding the opening,” he said.
Regardless of how the victory comes, Swick is hungry for a win, eager to reassert himself as a top-level welterweight.
“I think a win over Matt Brown puts me back. It lets people know that I’m back and that I’m serious. I’ve got to work my way back up, and that’s going to be a long process, but I want this performance to say something. I want to showcase all the abilities I have, and hopefully that’s enough to look really good and get a good win,” he said.
Swick’s upcoming fight, like his last, will be on FOX. As a 14-year veteran of MMA, Swick says returning from such a long layoff on a network with the viewership of FOX was a little overwhelming. Admittedly, in the earlier stages of career, he didn’t anticipate that he’d be fighting on such a massive stage. With his first outing on FOX complete, however, he feels he’ll be much more prepared this time around.
“It was a bit overwhelming last time, having had all that time off, and then coming back and being put on a FOX card with that much viewership. At least now, I know how the experience was, and so it’ll be familiar territory when I go back this time and I won’t have any of those nerves, and the stress and worry of what’s going to happen and how I’m going to perform back in the UFC. “
Despite being a free card, which often equates to being a weaker card, UFC on FOX 5 is one of the most stacked fight nights of 2012. From top to bottom, the card is thick with big names and promising scraps. Given the depth of the card, Swick says it’s a great honor to be on the main card—especially when one considers the presence of a fan-friendly heavyweight scrap between Lavar Johnson and Brendan Schaub on the undercard.
“It’s an honor. When I got the call, I was super excited that they wanted to put me on the main card and I’m appreciative of that. I don’t want to let them down. I want to go out there and make sure I put on an entertaining fight that [the UFC] wants to see, and that FOX wants to see, and that the fans want to see, and I have no doubt that it will go that way. One way or another, it’s going to be an entertaining, exciting fight.”
From the early vantage point, Swick’s fight with Brown appears to have all the makings of fight of the night, and many fans anticipate it to be just that. Swick, on the other hand, would prefer it wasn’t.
“I’m not going in there to get fight of the night. I never do. Fight of the Night means it was a tough fight and it was a back-and-forth, long battle. I’m going out like I always do, and I’m going to try to get the fight finished as fast as possible, as explosively as possible, and with the KO. If it turns into Fight of the Night, that’s great, because I have the cardio and the conditioning to keep up a fast pace, but I always want to go in there and finish my opponent. KO of the night is a lot more appealing to me than Fight of the Night.”
When it all goes down on December 8th, an abrupt and knockout-of-the-night-worthy finish is exactly what Swick predicts.
“I hope it’s a first round KO, and that I come away with the victory. That’s how I see it. That’s the kind of pressure I’m going to put on him, and that’s the kind of power that I’m going to lay out there from the opening round. That’s how I hope it goes, and that’s how I truly see it going.”