Mike Swick has been on the sidelines for nearly two years. | Photo: Marcelo Alonso
If it was not for bad luck, Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight Mike Swick might not have any luck at all.
Swick, who last fought in February 2010, has been sidelined by numerous illnesses and injuries, the most recent of which was a torn anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and meniscus in his knee suffered just a few weeks before his scheduled bout against Erick Silva at UFC 134 in August.
“It couldn’t have been more frustrating,” said Swick, who has 10 finishes among his 14 professional MMA victories. “Injuring my knee was the defining moment of frustration for my career. Every camp is going to be different, but I really felt like I’d put my training and performance together, and for this to happen two weeks before the fight was just really hard to swallow. But I’ll just have to come back stronger.”
Swick, a veteran of Season 1 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” is about three months removed from surgery to repair his knee and said the rehabilitation process is going well.
“Rehab’s going good,” said Swick. “I’m doing as much as I possibly can, but I have to re-build the strength in my knee. This isn’t a bruise or something like that. This is the worst injury I’ve ever had to come back from, and it’s tough because I haven’t been able to do any kind of real training.”
That being said, the 32-year-old Swick has been able to do a few things to start preparations for a return to the Octagon.
“I’m healing fast,” said Swick. “I can do a little bit of mittwork now and have been walking on stairs. I’m almost to the point where I can run, but I’m sore a lot because I’ve been doing about three hours a day of rehab. I’m pushing hard, but the last time I went to the doctor, he told me to take it easy [on the knee].”
Along with rehabbing his knee injury, Swick has stayed busy opening Nitor Muay Thai, an MMA fitness camp in Phuket, Thailand. Swick helped open the gym, along with former UFC fighter Roger Huerta.
“I’ve been active building the gym,” said Swick. “It’s going to be a place to work on muay Thai, but it’s also going to be a complete MMA gym, as well. Tons of MMA guys are going to Thailand to train, and this gym will give them muay Thai, MMA and fitness training all under one roof.”
Swick’s list of wins is as respectable as it is lengthy, as he holds victories over former UFC title challenger David Loiseau, Joe Riggs, Ben Saunders, Jonathan Goulet, Marcus Davis and Josh Burkman, among others. His losses were all against highly regarded opponents in former title challengers Yushin Okami and Dan Hardy, Chris Leben and Paulo Thiago. The losses to Hardy at UFC 105 in November 2009 and Thiago at UFC 109 in February 2010 were Swick’s most recent efforts and snapped a four-fight winning streak.
However, as hard as Swick is pushing with his rehabilitation, do not expect him to be in the Octagon anytime soon.
“I’m hoping to be fighting in five or six months,” said Swick, who trains at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif. “I can almost do the mitts and run now. Give me a little while longer and I’ll be ready to go. I’d love to come back sometime between February and April. I want to come back quickly, but I want to be ready.”
Swick had high praise for the UFC’s new insurance policy, which took care of the costs of his surgery.
“The UFC has been really supportive of me,” said Swick. “They understand about all of the injuries. It’s not the best situation, but I have a good relationship with them and it’s come in handy.
“I appreciate the fact they’ve stuck by me, and the fact their insurance covered me was huge,” he added. “That would’ve been the only thing that made this injury worse was to have to pay for everything myself. I’ve had a lot of injuries and not been able to fight for the last couple of years. It’s been a really bad run of luck, but the UFC covered everything for me.”