Coming off of the Ultimate Fighter Season 10, James “The Hammer” McSweeney was one of the hottest prospects in the UFC.  During his time on the show McSweeney won the respect of his housemates as well as fight fans with his display of Muai Thai and kick boxing as well as his submission skills.  Though he did not win the competition he did earn himself a spot on the Ultimate Fighter Heavyweight Season Finale against Darrill Schoonover.  McSweeney would win this fight via TKO in the third round and earn himself a spot on the UFC roster.

Before he competed again in the UFC, McSweeney moved from Jackson’s Submission Fighting in Albuquerque, New Mexico to Denver, Colorado so that he could train at Grudge Training Center.  McSweeney made his next UFC appearance at Ultimate Fighter Season 11 Finale against UFC new comer Travis Browne.  Browne stopped him via TKO due to punches in the first round.  McSweeney protested this victory stating that he was hit with an illegal elbow but chose not to appeal the decision.

After the loss, he decided that he would drop weight and compete in the light heavyweight division.  McSweeney was originally slated to fight Todd Blackledge at UFC 120 before Blackledge was forced out due to injury and replaced by Fabio Maldonado.

McSweeney came out firing in the first round and looked good.  He was able to out-strike the Brazilian boxer using a variety of different kicks and great punching combinations.  He completely dominated his opponent in the first round.  McSweeney came out ready to continue his dominant ways in the second round until he was hit in the mid section by a vicious right hand from Maldonado.

The fight went downhill from there as McSweeney was never able to recover and was completely dominated by Maldonado for the entire round.  McSweeney showed true heart by coming out in the third but he had nothing left and it was not long before the referee stepped in and stopped the fight.

With McSweeney losing his second straight fight in the UFC, it is possible that his days with the promotion could be numbered.  McSweeney’s switch to the light heavyweight division and his good showing in the first round should earn him one more fight with the organization but a third straight loss will surely be the end of his stint in the UFC.                     

He is a world-class kick boxer with the championships to prove it but his cross over to mixed martial arts has not been spectacular.  There is a bit of discrepancy related to his MMA record with most accounts having him at 4-6 after Saturday’s loss at UFC 120, yet he was introduced as being 13-5 at the actual fights. 

Regardless of what his actual MMA record is, the fact remains the same: McSweeney needs to continue to improve if he wants to stay in the sport of MMA.  He needs to continue to evolve into the fighter that many people believed he would be coming off of his showing at the Ultimate Fighter.  If he cannot live up to his potential as a mixed martial artist he can always go back to being a full-time kick boxer.

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