Swick: surgery's changed my style

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Since making his Ultimate Fighting Championships debut in 2005 coming off of the promotion's first season of "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series, Mike "Quick" Swick has proven that he's a contender at any weight class.

Performing on the show as a light heavyweight, he made it to the semi-finals, falling to Stephan Bonnar. Making the move back down to his then natural 185 pounds, he made an immediate impact, winning six fights in a row at the weight before suffering his only UFC loss to Yushin Okami.

Moving down to welterweight, Swick has once again found his footing, winning two in a row, before a long nagging injury forced him to have surgery, placing him on the shelf for the coming months.

Eager to heal up and return to action, Swick recently spoke to MMAWeekly about his injury, when it appears he could return to action, and the recent light heavyweight championship victory of fellow former Ultimate Fighter 1 cast mate Forrest Griffin.

MMAWeekly: First off, Mike, tell us about your recent surgery.

Swick: I just had surgery in Las Vegas. Dr.Steven Sanders and Dr.Colby Young went in and removed some bone fragments and bodies, cleaned up the joint and removed some of the bone spurs.

It's been an ongoing problem. It's caused me to have limited flexibility with my arm, so it was becoming a really big hassle in training and stuff. Luckily for me, the fight with (Marcus) Davis, the game plan wasn't to go out there and box with him. I didn't have to worry about throwing the right hand as much. I think I threw it two times in the whole fight. My strategy for that fight was kicks, clinch, ground and pound and stuff like that.

It actually kind of worked out okay, but considering how much of a problem (my elbow's) been, we knew immediately after the fight I'd have to schedule surgery and get it fixed. That's what we did, and the surgery was a success. Dr. Sanders said it's going to be a really good recovery and he thinks I can get the arm back to 100 percent -- so I'm really excited.

MMAWeekly: It sounds like it was quite an issue that needed immediate attention.

Swick: It was definitely an issue. This is the most important part about it -- it's changed my complete style. Because of the injury I couldn't do certain things, on the feet or on the ground. It created habit in my ground game and stand-up because I knew mentally that I couldn't do certain things because of the limitations in the flexibility in the arm.

On the ground I knew I couldn't use my proper hand positioning on the right side if someone was on top of me, so I'd automatically go to the left. On the feet obviously I couldn't throw hard right hands knowing that if I missed, I would over-extend the elbow and it would swell up.

It basically altered my style... so it's going to be really cool to go back in there and have my body at 100 percent.

MMAWeekly: What kind of recovery time are you looking at? When can the fans expect to see you back in the Octagon?

Swick: Before the operation he said that it's probably going to be anywhere between four to eight weeks for a full recovery. The operation was a success, so I'm hoping to be fully recovered as soon as possible. So, we're probably not looking to fight until November or December.

MMAWeekly: So basically you're looking at one more fight this year before getting back into the swing of things next year.

Swick: Oh definitely, I want to have a really active 2009. I want to get one more fight this year, a good tough fight; a tough opponent and kick start my 2009 with some really good opponents. There's so many good fights out there. There's not much point to mention anyone now, like I'm calling them out, because it's going to change due to who wins what fights in the coming months.

Considering I'm not fighting until November or December, I'm still keeping my eye on the division and I want tough fighters and good fights. I want to fight the best guys available for sure.

MMAWeekly: Let's talk about "The Ultimate Fighter" for a moment. You were part of the original cast, which has proven itself to have produced a lot of solid fighters who have become the base of the modern UFC. How do you feel about that, looking back on the years since it debuted three years ago?

Swick: It's a cool feeling after Season 1 doing so good. I can remember being in the house with these guys that none of them had fought in the UFC before. There was obviously a lot of talent in the house, but it was potential talent. We talked about a lot of "what if" situations, wondering who would make it and who wouldn't. It's real interesting to see how it's panned out.

I always root for Season 1 guys because we have that bond and went in there expecting basically nothing. We didn't even think it would be on TV. We thought it would be cancelled. You've got to realize, everything that had happened mainstream towards the sport in the previous five to ten years didn't work out. So, we went in there expecting it to not do well, just use it as an opportunity to get in the UFC, and it just blew up. So, it's really cool watching everybody now.

MMAWeekly: Most recently your fellow former cast mate Forrest Griffin became the first fighter from the show to win a UFC championship. What do you think about that, and out of all the guys on the show with you, would you have expected him to become an eventual champion?

Swick: It's really cool; I can't tell you how excited I was when Forrest won that fight. I like Quinton too; I think he's a great fighter and a good person, but I know Forrest better, so I'm always rooting for him to win. When you look at the guys from Season 1 that could go on to win a title, he was definitely one of them that had the potential.