It's been 10 months since Brendan Schaub last set foot in the UFC Octagon and these have been rough times for the former Ultimate Fighter finalist.
Not because he's somehow blown through all his money and needs a paycheck or anything, but because with two losses in a row just sitting there haunting him every time he looks at his record, Schaub needs to fight right now.
The former NFL player was expected to return in early December as part of the UFC on Fox 5 card, but his opponent, Lavar Johnson, suffered an injury just days before the show and forced the bout to be yanked altogether.
Schaub has waited patiently and now gets Johnson at UFC 157 this weekend in Anaheim. It's easy to tell that he's chomping at the bit to get back to business.
"I hate losing more than I like winning, and I have a bad taste in my mouth," Schaub told Bleacher Report. "It's forced me to become a better fighter. It forced me to get better. You give me 11 months to prepare for a guy, my teammates and I we're like Nick Saban—you gave us too much time to prepare and get ready for you—and it's going to show come the 23rd."
The setbacks in his last two fights were rough, but Schaub tries his best to turn every negative into a positive. Prior to those losses, Schaub had won four fights in a row, though he admits he learned as much in defeat as he ever did in victory.
No path to the top is ever smooth and Schaub knew he'd encounter more than his fair share of bumps, twists and turns along the way.
"A lot of guys it takes a loss to become a champion. Experience is priceless, I've been fighting these vets and fighting these legends and it's a double-edged sword. When you go in and knock the guy out in 30 seconds, you don't learn much at all, and for me that's kind of been my M.O," said Schaub.
"When you go in there, you learn the most when you get to feel a guy out, see what worked in training camp, see what you're made of."
If there's been one big question surrounding the losses that Schaub has endured in his last two fights, it concerns his ability to take a punch. Twice in a row, Schaub has been dropped by big, strong heavyweights, but he says it has nothing to do with his chin. It has to do with two behemoths swinging with everything they have, and one is bound to go down.
As a matter of fact, one of the richest and most popular heavyweights in the UFC has suffered a few knockouts in his career. Schaub knows he's doing just fine.
"People talk about losses and especially knockout losses, but the guy in the heavyweight division that makes the most money out of any of us that's probably the most famous is a guy by the name of Alistair Overeem," Schaub commented. "He's been knocked out more than any of us and he's doing pretty damn well."
That's the point Schaub wants to get across—he's not the greatest fighter in the world yet, but he's working hard to get there. While it may not be pretty and it's certainly not going to be easy, he's willing to put in the hard work to get there.
His next opportunity comes Saturday night in Anaheim at UFC 157 when he takes on Lavar Johnson.
Damon Martin is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.