Swick ready for new beginning
February 6, 2009.
The date is likely meaningless to the majority of people. Few look back on that Saturday and think about what exactly it means in the overall spectrum.
But for Mike Swick, that day is memorable, if only because it could have been the last time he ever competed as a professional fighter.
While the welterweight lost to Paulo Thiago at UFC 109 in that fight, it hardly seemed like the end of the line for Swick. Yes, he had lost two straight, but with his dynamic fighting style and ability to compete at the highest level, there was no doubt he would be back.
That was simply not the case for Swick. The American Kickboxing Academy product would never walk away from the sport so soon, but his health issues put him in a position where retirement was an option.
"I would wake in the night feeling like I had a heart attack," Swick said. "I wasn't getting any sleep at all during camps or even during the week of fights. I got misdiagnosed a couple of times, but eventually they found it was esophageal spasm, which would give me cramps and pains when I was trying to sleep.
"I never thought about wanting to quit myself. But there was a time where I thought my career might be over, talking to the doctors. If I couldn't eat like an athletet, if I couldn't rest my body, I was finished. But, slowly, I learned to control the condition through diet. The only thing diet-wise that is different for me is I miss all those great foods that taste good. Career-wise, it is under control."
But this fight certainly can't be just another fight for Swick. After two years away from action, he finally gets to put February 6, 2009 behind him and look forward to his future in the welterweight division.
While it's still far too soon to predict what kind of effect he can have in the weight class, Swick says he is not done and that the time away has been rough, but perhaps a blessing in disguise.
"I think I preserved a lot of my athletic prime while dealing with my heath issues. Over the last two years I've not taken any damage to my body or head in a way that eight to 12 fights would have done. Even though I had to miss out on all those fights, I feel I'm coming back more healthy than ever.
"I'm faster than I've ever been, I've worked speed non-stop for two years, and I'm more motivated and hungry. 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."
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