Former "Ultimate Fighter" season one cast member Mike Swick walked into his bout at UFC 189 with the mindset that he could be competing for the very last time.
Following two separate stints where Swick dealt with esophageal spasms — a condition that affected his ability to eat, sleep and virtually anything else he’d need to do to get ready for a fight — the veteran welterweight finally felt healthy in mind, body and spirit and decided to make another go at mixed martial arts.
He returned Saturday night, but lost a decision to Alex Garcia on the UFC 189 prelims. On Thursday, Swick officially announced that he was retiring from fighting.
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"July 11th 2015 at UFC 189 was officially my final fight," Swick wrote on Facebook on Thursday. "I was healthy and injury free for the first time in 8 years but still couldn’t put my game together.
"There comes a time when every fighter realizes he is older and not what he use to be and I want to acknowledge this and stay true and honest to what I have always said, that I will leave when I know I am done. It’s a hard thing to do considering everyone wants to go out on top, unfortunately when your actually on top, you never wanna go out."
Swick told FOX Sports prior to the UFC 189 fight that he was healthier than he’d been in years and that played the biggest part in his decision to give fighting one last go. The disease he suffered from robbed five-plus years of his career and Swick never thought he’d return after his last loss in 2012, much less that he’d fight again in 2015.
He promised that no matter what happened at UFC 189 that his current attempt at a comeback would be his last, whether it was for one fight or 10. As it turned out, Swick’s UFC 189 fight will be the last fight of his entire career.
"I’ve been through so much in my career," Swick told FOX Sports before Saturday’s fight. "I’ve been laid off two times now where I thought my career was over. You can’t predict when you’re done. You could have a car accident, you could have an illness, so many things can take you out of the game and I think too many people get wrapped up in two or three fights ahead.
"I’m going to take this fight like it’s my last and I’m going to fight this fight like it’s my last. Like it’s the last time I will ever fight, that I will ever be seen and I’m going to leave everything out there and it’s going to be a fight where if I never fight again, I’m going to look back and be proud of what I did.
"Win or lose, I’m going to be proud."
Swick’s exit from the sport leaves only Diego Sanchez as an active fighter from the first season of "The Ultimate Fighter" still competing in the UFC.
Swick retires with a 10-5 UFC record, but his impact from his time on the inaugural season of "The Ultimate Fighter" as well as his positive influence on dozens of fighters will continue to reverberate long after he hangs up his gloves.
While his fighting days may be at an end, Swick will still be very present when it comes to MMA as a whole.
Swick is still the head coach at American Kickboxing Academy in Thailand where several notable fighters train, including heavyweight Soa Palelei.
"Though I am retiring from fighting, I will stay a big part of this sport as I continue to build fighters and grow my dream gym AKA Thailand," Swick said. "This gym is a massive project that has taken us five years to put together and once we are done, it will be the largest and most unique fight gym in the world.
"I am so proud to have such a great team of people behind it and I will now give my full effort towards its progress and the business surrounding it."