Despite hopes that he would be able to fight on the Ultimate Fighting Championship's upcoming Chicago debut on Oct. 25, Mike Swick told MMAWeekly.com on Tuesday that he hasn't recovered enough from recent surgery on his right elbow to be ready for UFC 90.
"I had a few bone fragments floating around in my elbow joint causing inflammation. There were also bone spurs that needed to be removed. It has been ongoing for a while ... It reduced my flexibility in the right arm and if it was extended too much it would swell up and be useless for a few days until the inflammation went down," said the American Kickboxing Academy fighter.
"So it was a priority to get it fixed as soon as this last fight was over, which is what we did. Dr. Sanders and Dr. Young operated on him in Las Vegas on July 10 and removed the bone fragments and bone spurs."
He is already back training, but still not up to speed for an October return. With The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 Finale in early December and the UFC's year-end event late in the month, his plans more likely are aimed at a December return.
"As of right now it is still not 100 percent," he says, "mostly because I am training on it so much, but should be completely healed within the next few weeks. I have been doing cardio and some grappling, but haven't been able to spar for some time. I am trying to be ready by November, but it's a safer bet to say I will be fighting in December."
It is obviously too premature for name an opponent, but considering an emotional exodus from the middleweight division following a disheartening loss to Yushin Okami and his recent success at welterweight, Swick isn't ready to take a step back.
"I want to fight top contenders. I have already fought [Josh] Burkman and [Marcus] Davis, so I want to move up from there and continue to test my abilities against the best."
With his newly repaired elbow, his training should improve, the distractions of the debilitation will fade, and Swick believes we will see a return to the explosive fighter he once was. A newfound maturity, he hopes, leading him to an ascent of the division currently ruled by champion Georges St. Pierre.
"I am extremely motivated and excited to get back in the Octagon... Mentally and physically I will be where I need to be to return to the aggressive, explosive fighter that I used to be," he told MMAWeekly.com.
"After the Okami fight, I was immature professionally and let pressure and other issues cloud my mind... I know I could have fought better, but didn't and it handed me my greatest loss.
"After this, instead of making up for it with a better fight against Burkman, I let issues effect that fight as well and again was disappointed in my performance. It was a tough lesson to have to swallow, but it matured me as a fighter."
That is the voice of veteran fighter Mike Swick. That is the voice of the Mike Swick who worked his way up the ladder in World Extreme Cagefighting, experienced the groundbreaking first season of The Ultimate Fighter, and amassed a 7-1 record in the famed UFC Octagon.
"You hear of fighters going through a bad time in their career, but you never can understand what its like until you go through it yourself ... It's like everything else in that you have to learn as you go, and most of the time, learn from your mistakes. I have definitely learned from mine and I feel have become a more mature complete fighter."