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Brendan Schaub’s True Calling

“That’s a moment I will never forget. I felt like I was in ‘Rocky’ or ‘Rudy’."

Brendan SchaubHomecoming.
Packed house screaming your name. A big knockout victory in a must-win
situation. If it sounds like a Hollywood blockbuster, it’s not, but it
might as well have been for Brendan Schaub, whose 47 second knockout of
Chase Gormley in March was only missing the popcorn.
“That’s a moment I will never forget,” said Denver’s Schaub. “I felt
like I was in ‘Rocky’ or ‘Rudy’. I knew the crowd was going to be loud,
and being at home I’d have that advantage, but I had no idea. Once I
walked out there and the whole crowd went nuts, it was an indescribable
feeling. It really didn’t matter who they put in there against me, I
was ready to go to war in front of all my supporters and fans here in
Denver. And after I won, the place was just going nuts. I lost my voice
yelling going back to the locker room and jumping around. It was crazy.”
A finalist on season ten of The Ultimate Fighter, Schaub suffered
his first pro loss in that final bout, getting knocked out by Roy
Nelson last December. In many ways, the bout in Broomfield, Colorado’s
1st Bank Center was going to answer questions while dictating where his
career was going to go. A lot of pressure for a 27-year old with just
six pro fights, but he didn’t show any cracks in his foundation as he
blitzed and finished Gormley in less than a minute. He admits that
wasn’t exactly the plan though.
“Chase is a tough wrestler with some boxing in his background, so I
expected him to come out there, wait for me to commit, and try to take
me down, but he just came straightforward like a banshee, and I don’t
think that’s ever a good gameplan against me,” said Schaub. “He ran
into a right hand and it was kind of a quick night for him.”
And an emotional one for Schaub, who once again reminded fight fans
why he’s one of the top heavyweight prospects in the game. Whether it’s
speed, power, athleticism, or his solid training team, Schaub has all
the ingredients to make some noise among the big boys, and the win over
Gormley confirmed that diagnosis. But now comes the hard part, getting
back to business after experiencing such a high, and doing it all over
again. Schaub disagrees, stating that the hard part’s already done with.
“For me, the toughest part was getting back into the Octagon after a
loss,” he explains. “My coach Trevor Wittman always tells me that you
find out the most about a fighter after he’s coming off a loss. And
coming off the loss to Roy, I think that Chase Gormley fight kinda made
a statement to the other heavyweights. Yeah, I lost to Roy, but I’m
definitely a force to be reckoned with, and now I’m on this path, and I
don’t really care who they match me up against – I’m gonna go out there
and try to get these wins, but by doing it smart and sticking to the
gameplan, and using my speed against these big monsters they keep
pairing me up with.”
The next “monster” for the 6-4, 245 pounder is the 6-1, 260 pound
Chris “The Crowbar” Tuchscherer, who Schaub faces this weekend on the
UFC 116 card in Las Vegas. Ironically, it matches two prospects who are
training partners of Saturday’s main eventers, Brock Lesnar and Shane
Carwin, and for Schaub, working with Carwin while both prepare for
pivotal bouts at the same time has lifted the intensity even more at
the Grudge Training Center.
“Shane and I are always helping each other out, but we never fought
on the same card, so for us, sparring we definitely let it all hang
out,” said Schaub. “There’s not too much joking going on. We know the
fight’s coming up, we’re both a little on edge, and I think it shows in
sparring. We’re playing for keeps, and both of us walk out of there
with sore jaws, and it’s a different kind of intensity. We both know
what’s on the line and how big this is for both of our careers and just
Colorado in general.”
And Schaub makes no bones about it – he’s going into the Octagon
against Tuchscherer to set the table for Carwin and show off all his
tools while not getting into a wrestling match with the two-time
Division II All-American.
“This is a fight where I’m just gonna go in there and impose my will with my athletic ability and good ufcvs1_03_schaub_vs_gormley_002footwork,
and speed kills,” he said. “I’m a mixed martial artist and I think the
days of a pure wrestler grinding out a win are over. I think those guys
are dinosaurs. His (Tuchscherer) nickname’s ‘The Crowbar’ and that’s
perfect for him. I can’t even remember the last time I used a crowbar -
it’s old-school and tough, and it defines him. He’s tough, he’s boring,
it’s a crowbar, man. He has to worry about my knockout power, my
submissions, and my cardio. For me, I’ve got to pray to God that he
doesn’t take me down and lay on top of me for three five minute rounds.
But I’m not gonna let that happen. I’m gonna push the pace and break
his will, no matter how tough he is. Everyone’s tough in the UFC. You
don’t get to this level without being tough. So if your claim to fame
is being tough, I think you’ve got a lot to worry about.”
Schaub’s confidence, affable personality, performances, and
potential have also warranted a step to the next level in terms of his
public profile, and he has filled in the gaps between training sessions
with a number of appearances that have put him up close and personal
with the fans who fill the seats on Saturday night and follow him on
Twitter and Facebook. Its part of the job, but one Schaub has embraced.
“(Teammate and UFC vet) Keith Jardine told me ‘you’re finally
reaping the benefits of being a true professional,” he said. “But it’s
crazy. All the stuff THQ (makers of the UFC Undisputed 2010 game) and
the UFC send me to, before I had barely been out of Colorado, and since
the UFC, I’ve been to New York with Dana White and Chuck Liddell, Vegas
for the video games, and it’s just a dream come true and makes me want
to work that much harder. I think some guys get caught up in this
appearance stuff and missing training and a lot of them fight for the
notoriety, but I don’t. I was born with a fighter’s heart, and I just
go out there and take care of business. And if appearances and
autograph signings come, they come, but if not, that’s fine with me.”
It’s the perfect attitude to have, and if anything, Schaub knows
what it’s like to succeed at the highest level of this sport and he’s
willing to do whatever it takes to get there. Because even though he
once harbored dreams of being a professional football player and was
perilously close to realizing that dream, once he discovered fighting,
he knew he had found his calling in life.
“I’m doing what I love, and it’s easy for me to get up in the
mornings,” he said. “There’s not one day where I’m not thankful or that
I’m thinking ‘God, I’ve got to go back to work.’ I can’t wait to go to
bed and get up and go to work and become a better fighter. I think
that’s scary, because with my learning curve and as dedicated as I am
to MMA, I think the sky’s the limit and it’s just my destiny, and I’m
not gonna take that for granted.”