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Mike Swick vs. Anderson Silva - Is 'Quick' Swick Ready For 'The Spider'?

By Robert Rousseau, ExtremeProSports.com
As soon as the dust cleared from Anderson "The Spider" Silva's demolition of UFC great Rich "Ace" Franklin, talk of Anderson Silva's first title defense started. Would there be an immediate rematch? How about Nathan Marquardt? Would the TUF 4 winner be next in line?

In addition, there was the Mike "Quick" Swick argument.

After all, the former TUF 1 competitor is a popular fighter. Further, up until his last bout against David "The Crow" Loiseau, Mike Swick had been making mince meat of opponents. Fighters like Alex Schoenauer (KO in 20 seconds), Gideon Ray (TKO in 22 seconds), Steve Vigneault (submission at 2:09 of the first round), and Joe Riggs (submission at 2:19 of the first round) had fallen rather easily at his hands.

Soon after his unanimous, though not so impressive decision win against David Loiseau; we're talking right after UFC 64, the questions predictably started coming Mike Swick's way. His response, according to a UFC article by Michael DiSanta?

"I really want the first shot at Silva."

Hard pressed to make an argument against him (other than the fact that he injured ligaments in his hand against Loiseau and might not be ready by UFC 66). Though he lacks a certain level of experience that a Nathan Marquardt or even the TUF 4 champion might bring, Mike Swick has beaten everyone the UFC has put in his way. However bad a taste that fight against Loiseau left with people- he seemed as if he was losing steam while Loiseau was gaining it in the final round- a win is a win.

Besides, Mike Swick does train with a helluva stand up fighting crew at American Kickboxing Academy. Even if Anderson Silva's skills might surprise him, his tactics (such as the clinch) won't. As Swick said in that same interview. "His style is very reminiscent of Muay Thai, and I am really comfortable fighting guys with a Muay Thai style. So this is the exact fight I want."

Anderson Silva vs. Mike Swick... Be careful what you wish for.

Rich Franklin thought he wanted to be in Silva's clinch; he thought it would be his bread and butter. Not so. Swick, for sure, has trained extensively in Muay Thai, just as many of the boxers that came up against Mike Tyson in his early professional years had trained in boxing.

In other words, it's about the kind of fighter Anderson Silva is, not Muay Thai by itself.

Swick's hand speed and straight American boxing skills look to be in the same realm with Silva's. But thus far his kicks, particularly his knees, haven't been shown to be anywhere near the champion's, nor have his elbows. In addition, we've all seen Silva's clinch and deceptive strength. People think they're ready, but as soon as the bell rings, they find out that they aren't.

It just seems that Anderson Silva has a far vaster repertoire of striking skills than Swick. Of course, true MMA fans have seen a lot more of Silva than they have of the possible challenger, which makes the comparison somewhat unfair. Regardless, that would seem to lead us to the other major aspect of fighting.

The ground.

Though Silva is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu, he has, albeit rarely, been submitted during his career (twice). Still, this is a man that survived below jiu- jitsu great Carlos Newton for the better part of five minutes. Then he got to his feet.

End of story for Newton.

Swick really hasn't found himself on the ground for any significant length of time since he made his UFC debut. How are his takedown skills? How about his submissions from the guard?

A lot of question marks.

Bringing it all together, Swick has shown that he is a very exciting fighter. He's got that explosive style that people just love. Further, against Loiseau he showed a measure of heart and stand up acumen (Loiseau, on his feet, is no joke). But, thus far Swick has not been in against enough high quality fighters to truly indicate that he's ready for someone with Anderson Silva's skills. Could he be ready? Sure. But there is no proof.

A final thought. A little more than two years ago, Swick fought Chris Leben and got knocked out. We know what happened when Leben stepped in against Anderson Silva.

Mike Swick has clearly improved a lot since that day. But has he improved enough to truly challenge a man like Anderson Silva?

Maybe we'll know soon. What we assuredly know is that in a Silva-Swick matchup, Anderson Silva would be a big favorite in that fight if it were to happen, and deservedly so. In fact, right now he would be a big favorite against anyone in the division.

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