MMA Junkie points out the interesting road map Dana has to take promotionally to sell up a Dan Hardy title shot:
Nevermind, White said. By defeating a top-level fighter such as Swick, White said Hardy has earned the right to the title fight. And he used an unexpected fighter to make his case: Yushin Okami.
“I have a lot of respect for Mike Swick,” White said. “Mike Swick is a very good fighter. He’s only lost to Okami since he’s been in the UFC, at 185 (pounds), and Okami is one of the most underrated fighters in the UFC – and it went to a decision.”
Swick lost a shot at the middleweight title with his loss to Okami in 2007. In fact, perhaps prompted by the defeat to a bigger opponent, Swick dropped to welterweight after the bout.
But to hear White build up Okami as a world-beater should raise more than a few eyebrows. After all, the decision-prone Japanese fighter has excelled in the UFC but is often relegated to un-aired preliminary cards and has rarely been discussed by White as a legitimate middleweight contender – even as he posted an 8-1 record in the UFC from 2006 to 2008. (Unfortunately for Okami, this new love comes just a few weeks after he dropped a decision to Chael Sonnen, so he’s unlikely to get that long-awaited title shot anytime soon.)
On the surface it certainly looks like a blatant case of MMA math, which is never right except MMA forums and in certain quantum dimensions. But if you read between the lines it could just be Dana saying “Swick’s been around forever and it took that boring ass Okami guy at a higher weight class to beat him.” Which I guess would make Hardy’s win more impressive if Yushin Okami wasn’t the only contender level fighter Swick had ever faced.