Photo of Mike Swick by Esther Lin via MMA Fighting.
Other than having to deal with the fact that his biggest fan is Jesse Holland of all people, Mike Swick has had a trying couple of years.
All looked hunky dory at first, with the "Quick" one having a good go of it after his time on season one of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF). He came in as a middleweight and worked his way up the ladder until he ran into Yushin Okami and was sent off to the welterweight division.
He did well there, too, winning his first four fights, the last of which was a brutal stoppage of Ben Saunders that earned him "Knockout of the Night" honors and a number one contender bout against Dan Hardy.
He lost that fight handily. Then he lost his next fight. Then it all went to hell.
Swick spent the next year dealing with various issues, chief among them a misdiagnosis by doctors of an esophageal problem that had him struggling just to eat. He got that fixed, though, and got back on the comeback trail only to suffer a devastating knee injury in training that put him out for another year.
Now, he's back, finally, and believe it or not, he's still got his eye on winning a championship (via ESPN):
"I'm in a unique situation. I don't know anyone else who had 12 UFC fights then didn't fight for 2.5 years. I don't know what the deal's going to be after this fight. I know the most important thing is to do my job. I feel like this is a new beginning. To actually be healthy and have the right mindset, not having to deal with all this other stuff. I'm hoping to go out and have the best fights of my life yet. I 100 percent believe that. I'm not just saying that. ... In high school we used to watch the UFC, and I would tell my friends I wanted to be a UFC fighter. They said I was a dreamer and it wouldn't happen. I went out and did it, but the one thing I never did was win that belt. That's the one goal I've had that I've never achieved, so it's always going to be there. That's the ultimate goal."
And thanks to an injury to Ben Rothwell, Swick will get the chance to make a good impression on the main card on network television.
The climb will be slow, considering how loaded the welterweight division is with contenders hoping for a crack at Georges St. Pierre and his crown. But you have to begin somewhere and Johnson isn't a bad starting point.
And hey, even if he loses, he'll still have Holland cheering him. So there's that.