by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Mike “Quick” Swick has been nothing short of perfect since moving from middleweight down to the crowded UFC welterweight division. He has gone 4-0 in the Octagon at 170 pounds, including Saturday night’s UFC 99 dismantling of the previously undefeated Ben Saunders.
Aside from Saunders, Swick’s hit list includes Josh Burkman, Jonathan Goulet, and Brandon Wolff. All of them solid opposition, but none more highly regarded than Swick himself.
That is about to change.
“This is my tenth fight in the UFC, I’m 9-1. I want to fight for the title,” he stated in the Octagon after his second round TKO victory. “I want to fight top guys, Matt Hughes, Georges St. Pierre, Thiago Alves.”
It was a refrain that he repeated at the UFC 99 post-fight press conference, not demanding, but making it clear that he wants to stop treading water in his new division. He wants what most fighters want, for his efforts to turn into a run at the title.
“I trained really hard, put a lot of time in. I want a big fight. I’ve had two fights with really tough opponents that weren’t high-ranked and I had a lot more to lose than to gain, and I accepted,” he commented. “Now I’m in a position where I want to have something to gain when I push myself as hard and train so hard. I want a title shot.”
He knows a title shot doesn’t come easy, however, and he has alternative plans.
“I understand if not. And if not, I’d love to fight Matt Hughes. He’s one of the most decorated fighters in UFC history… it would be an honor to fight him.”
UFC president Dana White seemed to agree with Swick’s assessment, not committing him to Matt Hughes or any other specific opponent. He did agree, though, that it’s time for Swick to start moving up.
“Swick’s ready for a big fight. Part of the problem is keeping Swick healthy. That’s half the battle. Swick’s been around, obviously, since season one (of The Ultimate Fighter). We love this kid; he’s ready. As long as he stays healthy, I’m sure he’ll get a big fight.”
Part of the problem for Swick stepping up in the division is that the UFC already has two of his American Kickboxing Academy teammates – Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck, both Top 5 ranked fighters – are running neck and neck near the top of the class. But as long as Swick keeps winning, they’ll have to find room up there for him somewhere.