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Mike Swick: One Win Away From GSP

In his own mind, Mike Swick already believes he's worthy of a shot at arguably the most dominant welterweight in UFC history.

"I definitely think I offer a challenge to [Georges St- Pierre]," Swick told FanHouse. "He's one of the top fighters. Pound-for-pound he might be the best, but I definitely feel that my style is going to cause some problems for him for sure."

He believes it, but this Saturday at UFC 105, Swick can prove it to the UFC organization and fans around the world if he dismantles British sensation Dan Hardy to be next in line to face St-Pierre sometime next year.

Swick, 30, has never held a title, but he's been close several times. In January 2004, Swick suffered his first career loss, a WEC middleweight title loss courtesy of a Chris Leben knockout. Swick entered The Ultimate Fighter next and was eliminated from making the finals after tapping to a triangle choke-armbar by Stephan Bonnar. He'd tear through his next five opponents after the show and was once again one step away from a championship shot but lost a decision to Yushin Okami.

Swick went back to the drawing board and worked his way up. He moved down to welterweight and racked up four consecutive wins to earn a no. 1 contender bout against Martin Kampmann in September at UFC 103. Unfortunately, Swick had to pull out due to injury and Kampmann would fight the debuting Paul Daley. If all went according to plan, Kampmann would beat Daley and fight Swick at a later date. However, Daley stopped Kampmann in the first-round, leaving Swick uncertain with his own standing in the division.

"I was actually rooting for Kampmann," Swick said. "Unfortunately he took a loss there and threw a wrench in the plans."

Luckily, he was still in the UFC title picture and was matched with Hardy when the Brit's scheduled opponent Dong-Hyun Kim bowed out due to an injury.

To remain in the UFC's welterweight plans despite pulling out of the Kampmann fight, Swick is appreciative for the second opportunity and says he's motivated more than he's ever been.

"I've never had a fight camp go this good," Swick said. "My body is real healthy and obviously more to gain [from this fight]."

The well-rounded Hardy is not just a face to sell tickets overseas. In only 13 months, the 27-year-old out of Nottingham has proved he belongs in the UFC with wins over Akihiro Gono, Rory Markham and Marcus Davis. More impressive may be the level of confidence Hardy elicits.

Although Hardy has been for the most part, tight-lipped leading up to Saturday's fight, Hardy has been considered disrespectful for his brash words towards his previous opponent, fan-favorite Marcus Davis. Swick, a veteran of over ten years, is too experienced to be bothered.

"You have to be [that way] to get the fights you want to get. That doesn't change the aspect of him as a fighter," Swick said. "It doesn't play a role to me in this fight. That stuff doesn't really get to me."

Swick didn't enter into a verbal feud with Hardy, but he as of late, along with his American Kickboxing Academy teammates, have taken turns calling out Matt Hughes. Swick insists there was nothing personal, but only to test himself against a former champion.

"He was available," Swick said. "We've all been available when he was available, and we've always asked for the fight because he's a top-level guy. He's just never taken it. We all have fights now so it's not even an issue. I'm not evening thinking about Matt Hughes right now."

So with the previous most dominant welterweight in UFC history off his mind, Swick has his sights set on the current one. And although Swick's been told he'll receive a title shot with a win over Hardy, he acknowledges that a lackluster performance could convince the UFC brass to go back on their word. However, there's a sure-fire way avoid that.

"I'm going out to make a statement," Swick said

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