by Jeff Cain
MMAWeekly SoundOff Radio kicked off it’s sixteen fighters in sixteen days with Keith Rockel. Rockel squares off with Mike Swick on August 6th, live on Spike TV at Ultimate Fight Night. Keith has a 11-4-1 Mixed Martial Arts record, and has fought in the UFC twice before, but this has to be the biggest fight of his career considering the number of viewers that will see it. Keith spoke with MMAWeekly about his preparation for this fight, his fighting style, and his future. Sixteen fighters in sixteen days kicks off with Keith Rockel.

Rockel has competed twice in the UFC octagon winning one and losing one, but both ending with a Guillotine Choke. He made his UFC debut back in January of 2002, at UFC 35, against Eugene Jackson in a losing effort. At UFC 45, Keith defeated Chris Ligouri, but this bout has so much more on the line. With big opportunity comes big risk. Keith can either win in front of millions of people, or lose in front of millions of people. Either way the result will be magnified, and can propel a fighter into super stardom, or set the timer on their demise.

“Every fight is a fight. You get in there. I just train the way I train. It doesn’t matter if they think I’m an underdog or a favorite in the fight. I train the same all the time. When you get in there a fight is a fight. You know? Mike Swick’s going to be a tough dude, and even if it wasn’t Mike Swick and someone else, it’s still going to be a fight. I don’t look at it like that. I do what I have to do to get in shape. I have a regiment I follow every fight, and try to improve on every time that I train again. I try to better myself, and it’s all I can do. I can’t worry about Mike Swick or who I’m going against. I’ve just got to do what I do to get in shape for the fight.” Rockel told MMAWeekly.

Keith went on to say, “This opportunity kind of caught me off guard. I just had a fight three weeks ago…and I was actually going to take a little time off after that fight, but I got this opportunity, so I kept on going. I kept training, and I took the fight, but after this I’m going to do some work with some of my own guys that are coming, and take a little time off.”

Keith was asked about where he feels his fight game is right now. He responded. “I feel well rounded. I think everybody in the game out there nowadays has got to be well rounded, so if you’re trying to look at just one angle of the fight game it’s going to catch up with you. I think everybody out there is working the stand-up, working the ground game, and take-downs. If you’re not doing it, you’re doing something wrong.” Rockel assured MMAWeekly that he is 100% healthy for this fight.

Discussing his background in fighting, Keith commented, “I think most everybody has seen me, a lot of ground stuff. You know? My background started in Judo, and kind of transferred into submission wrestling, and then into the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and then I got more into the Muay Thai the last four or five years, but I’ve still got that ground base. You know? I still, I’m more comfortable on the ground than anywhere.”

Rockel thinks both he and Swick are targets for up and coming fighters wanting to make their mark. “I think it’s going to be a great fight. I mean I think anybody that’s been in the UFC, or been in the UFC show, I think they’re all a target. You know? It doesn’t matter what event you go to, you’ve got that UFC label, and I think you’re going to be a target. Everybody is wanting to make a name out there, so that’s a great win over somebody that’s been in the UFC.”

August 6th, live on Spike TV Keith Rockel takes on Mike Swick. The only thing better than free fights are free fights between good fighters. Rockel and Swick are both good fighters, and both have a lot on the line in this one. The winner and loser will have very different immediate futures regarding opportunities. One will become a UFC regular while the other will find themselves back in the mix of so many fighters trying to be.