I spoke to Mike Swick this week for an SI.com article on his attempt to get back in the title picture after the loss to Dan Hardy. While Swick admits he lost the fight, he says he can’t accept that Hardy might be the better fighter, and wants a rematch somewhere down the line to prove it. When asked if Hardy deserves the shot at GSP after winning the decision at UFC 105, Swick joined Nate Marquardt, Rory Markham, and a chorus of other observers in saying absolutely not:
"The thing about this sport is, there are so many variables that go into it. He did beat me. And if I would have won then I would have been the No. 1 contender, so you can look at it that way. But just because he won that fight, I don’t think that means he deserves a title shot. He’s only had three fights in the UFC and he’s only had one finish. He hasn’t had the same road that a lot of the top welterweights in the UFC have. Even though he beat me, I have to say he doesn’t deserve it. If he thinks he does, I’m sorry, but he’s wrong."
I also talked to Swick about the newest addition at the American Kickboxing Academy, Herschel Walker. It’s one thing for Strikeforce and their employees to insist that he has what it takes to hang with the pros, but what has the longtime AKA fighter seen from him in the gym?
According to Swick, Walker is taking this stuff seriously:
"I train with him every day. He’s good, man. He’s really athletic and very, very motivated. I mean, he’s a guy in here training as hard as guys in their twenties and thirties who do this for a living, and it’s not easy. I’ve seen countless guys who couldn’t hack the training here. I’ve seen high-level guys, guys you watch on TV, come into our gym and not be able to hack it. They leave and don’t come back.
"You see a guy who’s not a fighter at all come in there, and he does everything that we do, all the training and the conditioning, the Aerodyne workouts, all of it. He’s not doing it for the fame or the money or anything. He’s doing it just for the love of the sport and competition. It’s inspiring. He’s a motivated individual."