SAN JOSE, Calif.—Mike Swick regrets mincing his words.
Leaning against American Kickboxing Academy’s ring, Swick is fresh off an early morning conference call with Dan Hardy—the man he faces at UFC 105 at the MEN Arena in Manchester, England in a welterweight title eliminator. Before training, Swick takes the chance to say what he wanted to but didn’t.
“He’s really underestimating like everyone else did and does, every time I fight,” says Swick. “I’m very excited to go set the record straight.”
Swick sees Hardy’s ego as over-inflated after his recent win over common opponent Marcus Davis.
“He claims he beat Marcus Davis better than me, which makes no sense at all. And one of the judges said he lost in his own country. Go figure. I won unanimously,” Swick says dismissively. “Second of all, Marcus Davis completely dominated the first round, full mounted him, [out] positioned him in every position on the ground. You didn’t see that with me and Davis.”
Swick calls upon his record versus Hardy’s as evidence. Two of the Brit’s three UFC bouts were split decision victories. The Texas-born fighter won three unanimous decisions of his nine UFC wins. “It’s ridiculous how delusional he really is,” Swick adds before explaining why he didn’t respond with venom on the conference call.
“That’s the difference between us: he wants to fight you at your weakest,” says Swick. “He wants to get in Davis’ head and not get him through a training camp and try to beat up a weak and morally distressed Davis. I want to find the best Dan Hardy. So I bit my tongue.”
Swick expects to be the first man to knockout Hardy in the Brit’s 29 fights. He explains that the only person to knock him out in his 16 fights, Chris Leben, is a rare breed who can take knockout punches and deliver them, unlike the counter-punching Hardy. Besides, counter-punchers rely on speed and timing and “Quick” is quicker.
“For him to underestimate speed is ridiculous,” says Swick. “Plus, he’s gonna have to counter like 30 punches. I’ve never really been countered to be honest with you, so we’ll see I guess.”
Swick says he is momentarily bitter but has to put it out of his mind soon because a title shot is at hand. Eager for an engaging battle in Hardy’s home country, Swick asserts Hardy will have to win impressively to earn a spot against champion Georges St. Pierre. It won’t happen, though, he says, because he refuses to let a title fight escape him once more. Swick dropped a decision to Yushin Okami in 2007 in what was considered a middleweight contender bout.
“I’m back in the same boat again but I feel I’m in that boat with a lesser opponent,” says Swick. “A very talented opponent, an opponent who can knock me out if I make a mistake, but nonetheless overall a lesser opponent than a guy like Yushin Okami.”
For more on Mike Swick, check out Ben Fowlkes’ excellent cover story from the Sept. issue of FIGHT! Magazine and keep up with his life and training through his video blog and Twitter profile.