Mike Swick returns to the Octagon on August 4 after a long absence of injury and illness.
Swick comes into the fight against DaMarques Johnson with the same height (6’1”) and the same weight (170 lbs.) as his opponent. The two welterweights will compete when fights begin at 8 p.m. EST. Swick, also known as Quick, comes into the fight against Johnson (15-10) with a very impressive record (14-4). But that’s not exactly what’s on his mind when the two will face off.
“I think I’ll be good,” Swick told ESPN.com. “A lot of times in my career I had to step up big under a lot of pressure. I don’t think this is any different.
But as Sports Illustrated explained, “It's been two-and-a-half years since Swick has stepped in the cage. Between the esophageal disorder that sidelined him for months and the knee injury that knocked him out of a bout last summer, he's faced so many setbacks that it's almost hard for him to believe that his scheduled return on the Aug. 4 UFC on Fox event will really happen as planned.”
It’s been 911 days since Swick has been in the Octagon.
Earlier this year, Thiago Silva lost to Alexander Gustafsson after taking a 15-month break from the sport. Rampage Jackson lost after taking less than a year off to pursue acting.
The health concern for Swick has had him sidelined for nearly 30 months, in which he was just one win away from a title when he was forced to step back and re-evaluate his health.
"I never thought about wanting to quit myself," Swick told Yahoo! Sports in regards to his esophageal spasms. "But I thought my career might be over, talking to the doctors."
His condition was never cured, but it was put aside due to dietary supplements and monitoring. While training to get back in the ring for his next match, Swick suddenly tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus.
"You start to wonder, 'Is there a curse or something following me around?' " explained Swick. "This is how I make my living. It's what I love to do and day after day, week after week, I couldn't do it. And finally, when I thought I was back, to have that knee injury that I had, it was pretty devastating mentally."
“I’m proud of myself for pushing forward, getting through it, and being here today,” Swick told the Toronto Sun. “It was an ultimate test for me. It tested every resolve I had. It was so much easier to quit, give up, or assume I couldn’t deal with it. The fact that I did it and persevered makes me happy.”
“The guy has had a real tough stint with injuries before we even started getting plagued with injuries,” said UFC president Dana White. “Swick was getting injured all the time, but it’s good to see him back. I love the kid. I’m pumped.”
And Swick comes into the match pretty pumped as well. He has the entire world to fight for in this match.
"I'm faster than I've ever been, I've worked speed non-stop for two years, and I'm more motivated and hungry,” said Swick. “That fire that used to burn is even bigger. So I'm definitely far from done, and I think this is a whole new beginning for me."
As Swick takes on Johnson, the two aggressive fighters will meet in the Octagon for a thoroughly exciting match. For a fighter looking for a new beginning, both with health and in the ring, he has been given a perfect matchup.
When Swick goes in to fight on August 4, there will be one other thing on his mind besides a title: the beauty of the sport that he had once fallen in love with.
"I'll never take fighting for granted now," Swick said. "I'll never fight in the UFC again and not think it's the greatest thing ever.
"I'll also really fight every fight like it's my last. You never know. I think that's the big difference now. People ask what you'd do if you couldn't fight anymore, but you're always thinking, what could happen to me? What injury would make me never fight again? Well, I got to see it. I got to feel like maybe my career was over."
That’s the ultimate compliment to Dana White from Mike Swick. When he goes into battle on Saturday night, it would be a fight that I wouldn’t want to miss.