(King of the world.)
While a concussion sustained in training cost him a chance to fight Martin Kampmann to determine the UFC’s top welterweight contender, Mike Swick didn’t have to wait long for another fight offer to come his way. The AKA product has agreed to face Dan Hardy at UFC 105 in Manchester, England on November 14, and the winner will likely get the next shot at Georges St. Pierre’s title. We called up Swick to discuss the news, and to ask him some other pressing questions, like, what’s up with AKA fighters and their fixation on calling out Matt Hughes? As usual, Swick did not disappoint.
So you and Dan Hardy at UFC 105. Is this official, bout agreements signed and everything?
Yeah, I signed it right when it came in.
What did you think when they offered you Hardy?
I was excited just to get the opportunity. I actually agreed before I knew who it was. The UFC just called me and asked if I’d like to fight on November 14 and I said yes. Then later my manager called as well and said that there was an injury and they needed a replacement, and I told him to tell the UFC that whoever it was they had in mind, I’d fight him. So the UFC came back and said it’s Dan Hardy, or if for some reason Dan Hardy can’t make the fight it could be someone else, and I said yeah, let’s do it. I’m just excited to get back in there. I didn’t want to have to wait until January.
What do you think of Hardy?
I think he’s a good fighter and he’s a good guy. We’ve hung out a lot. We went to Germany together on a tour for the military. He’s a good person, so it’s always nice to fight guys who are not knuckleheads. He seems like a very genuine person. But for that night we’re going to put that aside and try to beat each other up.
He likes to talk trash before his fights sometimes, trying to get in his opponent’s head. Since you two know each other and are already friendly, do you think he’ll still do that with you?
Well, the reason he did that with [Marcus] Davis was because he knew he was kind of sensitive and he was hoping he could get in his head, and then Davis gave him the exact reaction he was looking for. It doesn’t matter to me. That stuff is child’s play. Nothing he can say is going to make me want to beat him up any more. People have tried that on me before…no matter what he says, on November 14 we’re going to get in that cage and they’re going to lock it behind us and only one person is going to end up with his hand raised.
You had to pull out of the fight with Martin Kampmann because of a concussion. What’s your health status right now? Are you back to training and sparring like you were before?
I’m fine. I just needed about a month. I’m not back to sparring yet, but I’ve been training really hard. I took one week off and that was it, but then I got right back into the gym because I knew I was going to get the call pretty soon and I wanted to be ready. I’ll start sparring again next week. I probably could have started this week, but my coaches just wanted to be careful about it.
Were you surprised when Kampmann got TKO’d by Paul Daley, who was the late replacement for you at UFC 103?
That was crazy. I didn’t call that. I mean, I knew it was possible. Daley’s a good striker. I think he got a lot of hype from that fight, but it really wasn’t so much what he did right as much as what Kampmann did wrong. I don’t think that was the best Kampmann we’ve seen by far. …[Daley’s] already called me out, but with that many losses on his record and only one UFC fight, that’s some big talk. If he keeps winning it’s not going to be long before they put him in there with someone like me or Koscheck or Fitch, and then he’s going to be in over his head in a hurry.
Speaking of Koscheck, I thought it was kind of odd that he called out Hughes after beating Frank Trigg. You’ve been trying to get that fight with Hughes for months now.
We knew he wasn’t going to take the fight before we called him out. We — me and Fitch — actually told Koscheck to do that. Fitch has asked for him before and then I asked for him and the UFC told me I wasn’t going to get that fight. So before Koscheck’s fight we were talking and we just said, ‘Hey, why don’t you try it and see if he’ll fight you.’
It almost sounds like you guys don’t even want to fight him so much as you just want to keep after him for not taking a fight with one of you. Like it’s become a game in itself at this point.
It is. There’s no real motivation anymore to fight him. We know he’s not going to agree to it. It’s just a game now. He won’t take a fight with any of us and we’re just going to keep continuously calling him out.
So now that you know you’re fighting Hardy for a chance at GSP, what’s the scouting report on him? What do you have to watch out for?
I think he’s an aggressive striker, like myself. He’s got a good win streak going. He’s 3-0 in the UFC and he had a good win against Marcus Davis. Anybody who saw Davis after that fight knows that Hardy did some damage to him. He’s a good striker and he’s a tough guy who really comes after people, so that should make for a great fight.