Exclusive | Javier Mendez on Swick's return, Thomson vs. Melendez 4
Once again legendary AKA founder Javier Mendez opened up to BJpenn.com and this time he touched on two of the school’s most recognizable names, Mike Swick and Josh Thomson.
Mike Swick exploded on to the scene after competing on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. Since then Mike has dropped down from light heavyweight to middleweight, and now welterweight. Swick’s last two fights were losses to Dan Hardy in 2009 and Paulo Thiago in 2010. Since the Thiago fight Mike has been a ghost. Mendez talked about Mike’s misfortunes and imminent return.
“He had health issues. He had stomach problems and he couldn’t maintain his weight”, Javier said. “He had major, major issues with his stomach. He finally found the answer to that and he got back on track. He was working and got a knee injury while he was sparring with one of the guys. He tore his knee apart and he had to have surgery. He’s been on the mend from that and trying to get back on track. Then he went to Thailand to work on some Thai camps with Roger Huerta or something like that. Now he’s actually ready to go. He’ll be fighting very soon”.
One of the most talked about and debated decisions this year was the third fight between Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez and AKA standout Josh Thomson. The fight was close enough that it was a razor thin split decision that ultimately fell in favor of Melendez.
“I’m biased when I say Josh beat Gil”, Mendez joked. “I thought we edged it out, but the damn third round was so close. I’m just like, my opinion to me is that of course he’s my fighter so I thought he won. It was such a close fight that I’m okay if anyone thinks otherwise.
Rarely do you hear an AKA coach or fighter making excuses for a loss. Mendez believes that there was a legitimate reason for Thomson coming up short and that talking about it is okay this time around.
“I will say this that Josh did have a knee injury that prevented him from performing like I think he should have performed”, stated Mendez. “Josh told us to shut the hell up because it didn’t have anything to do with his knee. He’s that kind of guy. Bob and I know different. His performance was fantastic and after that knee injury it went back down. We were like ‘oh crap’. We knew he was hurt. Even though he was mentally 100% it still messed with his head in my opinion in the first two rounds because he was so hesitant. He wasn’t letting it go all of the way because he had no confidence if it would be okay. In the final rounds it was just fine. Josh Thomson will have a different opinion but I know what I saw. He didn’t come alive until the fourth and fifth round and then it was full speed ahead. I think that if there was a 6th round you would have seen Josh do what he came to do”.
Immediately after the fight some were calling for a fourth fight between Thomson and Melendez. Maybe part of it had to do with the lack of legit contenders for Gilbert, or maybe it was just because the fight was so good it possibly warranted another go round. Mendez feels strongly about whether it should occur or not.
“I wouldn’t be upset, but what does Gilbert have to gain from it”, Javier said. “First of all this is what I feel personally, Gilbert is regarded as, I have no doubts he is number one because of what he has done. People don’t understand he’s been fighting a Josh Thomson that has been injured and Josh has been injury prone so his performances have been sub-par. Well, Gilbert’s performances have been so great that people are saying he’s the best. So what you have is Gilbert being talked about by everyone else like they want him to fight BJ or Gray Maynard. He’s getting all of these top big name guys because it’s a bigger organization. He’s got all of these fantastic guys in front of him and guys like BJ Penn who’s a legend – to someone like Josh Thomson who’s not even in the top 20 in most expert’s eyes. Poor Gilbert he’s having to rise to the occasion to fight a guy like Josh that’s extremely tough despite not being ranked. Even if he won he lost because of that. Personally speaking I don’t think he would want another fight with Josh. I would think he would say hell no that fight. If I was handling Gilbert I would want the same thing. The reality of all of this is that Josh Thomson proved he is one of the best in the world. If anyone doubts that they don’t have a good idea of what a fighter should be. Josh is definitely a top 5 fighter”.