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Mike Swick: Dan Hardy Deserves Title Shot Against GSP, Can 'Definitely Win'

Mike Swick and Dan Hardy have never appeared to be the best of friends. Of course, Hardy beat Swick to earn a welterweight title shot in November and then Swick talked publicly about how he didn't believe Hardy had done enough to truly earn that shot.

So with that in mind, you might be surprised to hear that Swick has changed his tune about Hardy's right to face Georges St-Pierre later this month at UFC 111 and his chances of pulling off the upset in Newark, NJ.

"Hardy can definitely win. Overall, GSP has the better chances to win, of course, but Hardy is getting better and better and, honestly, I am more excited to see this GSP fight versus Hardy than pretty much anyone else you could put GSP in with," Swick recently said.

"I am super excited about the fight; I can't wait to see what happens as a MMA fan. Dan can definitely win this if he takes his chances with his strikes.

Time seems to have healed Swick's wounds, because he now believes Hardy deserves a shot at the 170-pound champion after all.

"Dan Hardy definitely deserves his title shot in Newark. I said in a few interviews he didn't but - I want to clear the air - when I said that I was still upset I'd got beat by him at UFC 105. I made that mistake of talking when I was feeling emotional, when I was feeling down and was disappointed in my performance. But it wasn't my true opinion; at least not one I'd actually thought about," he said.

"I'm a little embarrassed I said that, and want to say publicly Hardy deserves his shot and has a good chance of winning. He's a top fighter. I said on my Twitter I hope Dan does well and good luck to him, that he deserves shot. But obviously no-one picked up on that while the other stuff I said before was everywhere.

"Has Hardy had a fast route to the title? Yes, but he's taken chances and accepted tough fights when offered to him. It's true: if I had won that fight no-one would be saying I didn't earn it. And do I wish I'd have gotten a faster route to a number one contender fight? Of course. You wouldn't be hearing me complain, or any other welterweight complain, about getting a quicker route to a number one contender fight. He stepped up to fight me and won.

Following Swick's loss to Paulo Thiago at UFC 109, the American Kickboxing Academy member went to Thailand to work on sharpening his skills. He was rumored to be facing Matt Serra at the yet to be announced Ultimate Fight Night 22 event next month, but an elbow injury will keep him out of action indefinitely.

"I realize now I need to change up my own style. I have had the same style all my UFC career and smart fighters like Hardy and Thiago, at this elite level, can predict what I was doing if they did their homework," he said.

"Against Hardy I rushed in, like he knew I would, and he nailed me on the tip of the jaw with a left hook. Then I did same with Thiago and he choked me out while I was stunned.

"And against Thiago, I was at my best physically but now I know I made the same mistake. When you see me next, there will be some changes to my style and opponents won't be able to predict me.

With UFC 111 less than three weeks away, Swick just wants to clear the air between himself and Hardy, and it's interesting to note that he doesn't think a Hardy era as welterweight champion would be all that bad. In fact, he would welcome the change.

"Behind all the talk, I know Dan's a very good guy. We didn't have problem before or after our own fight, so there's no need to talk all this stuff now. I wish him the best. It would be very exciting for the division to have him as champion. Obviously I'd love a rematch for myself but anytime a division is shaken up its great for the sport."

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