Brendan Schaub will throw down with Gabriel Gonzaga on Saturday night at UFC 121. Although the former top contender marks his most formidable foe to date, “The Hybrid” appears fully prepared to seize the moment.
“I’m stoked. It’s just a great opportunity and a big-named opponent and tough opponent in Gabriel Gonzaga. I couldn’t ask for much more. [Octagon president] Dana White and [matchmaker] Joe Silva have been pretty good to me,” Schaub told 5thRound.com.
Everything has happened rather quickly for the former football stud, a lot faster than he could have even imagined. However, when you have stars like Nate Marquardt and Shane Carwin within your “circle of trust,” it’s not as unbelievable as one would think.
“Shane and I just talked about this the other day. It seems like just yesterday me and him were in this little gym with no technique, messing each other up. He used to always tell me, ‘Be ready because the UFC’s is gonna come calling sooner than you think,'” explained Schaub. “Sure enough, I got the call for ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ after only four fights and here I am on the biggest card of the year. On the pay-per-view portion, fighting a top fighter in the world.
“I just need to chill out and kinda embrace this and not look past all this. Things happen quick, but I’m trying to put it slow-mo and embrace all of this.”
Since losing to Roy Nelson at the TUF 10 Finale, Schaub has finished his last two opponents in a combined 114 SECONDS. Most fighters would be amped over such devastation, but as the Denver native explained, he’s completely unsatisfied and wants to make amends for what transpired at UFC 116.
It is a night he’s dubbed the worst of his career, despite the fact he collected his sixth pro victory.
“I’ve put my body through hell this camp. This last fight at UFC 116 with Chris Tuchscherer, I threw one punch and the fight was over,” said Schaub. “I was so unsatisfied cause Chris is a tough guy so I was figuring it was going to go three rounds.
“One punch, knocked him out. I went to the back and I was so unsatisfied. And then Carwin lost. That was one of the worst nights of my career.”
While most would be pleased with capturing a win to go along with a phat paycheck, the 27-year-old has shown great maturity in understanding the need to showcase his entire repertoire if he’s to make it to the land of the elites. At the same time, his selfless compassion for his fallen big brother shouldn’t go unsung either.
A self-professed “uber MMA fan,” Schaub admits he never focuses on early finishes and is always prepared for an all-out war. That being said, he won’t allow himself to get involved in a scrap where the fans and his boss lose.
“You look at a fight like Frank Mir/[Mirko] ‘Cro Cop.’ Was there really a winner in that fight? Dana White and the fans were pretty upset with [UFC 119]. So in that case, yeah, it definitely matters how you win,” the Grudge Training Center athlete said.
“A convincing win over Gabriel Gonzaga, I think it puts you right up there with the rest of the top heavyweights.”