The last time we saw Mike Swick he was getting manhandled by Yushin Okami at UFC 69. That loss was certainly hard to swallow for the 28-year-old Swick as it came in his hometown of Houston, TX, but, more importantly, it derailed his meteoric rise up the Middleweight rankings.
Nine months later, we find Mike Swick looking to prove himself all over again at a new weight class against a whole new set of opponents. Swick battles Josh Burkman at 170 pounds on the 1/23 Ultimate Fight Night card on Spike TV.
The Park caught up with Swick to talk about his upcoming fight, the loss to Okami and why he chose to move down to 170. Below is our interview:
Ariel Helwani: Why did you decide to move down 170 pounds after you experienced so much success at 185?
Mike Swick: Because it is my natural weight class. I have been debating moving down for a long time.
AH: Was this part of your career plan from the beginning?
MS: I didn’t think about weight classes at the beginning of my career – just fighting.
AH: You were just a couple of wins away from a title shot at 185, do you feel like you have to climb the proverbial ladder all over again now?
MS: I definitely have to prove myself at 170 and that’s what I hope to do.
AH: Do you have any plans on ever returning to the Middleweight division?
MS: Haven’t thought about it but I am the same size either way so I could if I decide to.
AH: How tough was it to watch Yushin Okami fight for a #1 contender shot following your loss to him?
MS: Not as tough is losing to him in my #1 contender fight.
AH: What went wrong in the fight against Okami?
MS: Everything! That loss started before I even got in the ring. I made too many mistakes leading to that fight and then in the fight. I learned from them though.
AH: Did you feel any pressure fighting in front of your home crowd?
MS: I did but more because of my fast success in the UFC. Going 5-0 and winning in such quick fashion caused a tremendous amount of pressure on me. I listened to what everyone was saying and lost focus of what I should be doing out there.
AH: Why haven’t you fought since then?
MS: I have been plagued with injuries. Trust me, I wanted to fight sooner.
AH: What are your thoughts on Josh Burkman?
MS: He is a very tough fighter who is explosive and strong.
AH: If you defeat Burkman – who would you like to fight next?
MS: Not even thinking about that now. I only focus on one fight at a time.
AH: Anything you want to say to your loyal fans?
MS: I want to thank all the fans out there for their ongoing support! Please checkout my webpage at Mikeswick.com and my Myspace at Myspace.com/mikeswick.