UFC 134: Is Brendan Schaub Standing on the Shoulders of MMA Giants?

Michael EvansCorrespondent IIIMay 20, 2011

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 01:  Mixed martial artist Brendan Schaub arrives at the third annual Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards 2010 at the Palms Casino Resort December 1, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Brendan Schaub is known as "The Hybrid." I’m not quite sure where the nickname comes from, but I do know that he is one heck of an athlete.

He was a former Arena Football League player who made quite the impression on the Ultimate Fighter ten. Schaub suffered a brutal knockout loss to Roy “Big Country” Nelson at the TUF finale, but has since rebounded with four straight wins inside the Octagon. Schaub has improved by leaps and bounds and now has a win over MMA legend and Pride open weight grand prix champion, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic.

This is a great signature win, but I don’t know how much it really means. Cro Cop had a serious size advantage, giving up thirty pounds to Schaub. Cro Cop also recently received a knockout loss to Frank Mir in which he was out cold. If you couple that with the knockout he suffered to Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 70, it becomes very apparent that Mirko was finished as a fighter before he ever entered the Octagon.

Cro Cop actually put up one hell of a fight that night, but that says more about what Brendan Schaub lacks and less about what Mirko has left in the tank. It still puzzles me that Frank Mir had such a difficult time with Cro Cop, until he knocked him out. This all goes to prove my point that Cro Cop can’t take a shot anymore. Neither Mir or Schaub should put too much stock into those knockout victories.

It was recently announced that Brendan Schaub is now slated to fight Pride legend and former UFC interim heavyweight champion, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Nogueira is a true legend of this young sport, but he is on a steep decline to retirement. Schaub had previously campaigned to fight Frank Mir and had seemed to want to fight other men previously.

Then, suddenly, he seemed to switch his path and decide he wanted to fight another MMA legend. The problem I have with this is that Nogueira is shot by most people’s assessment.

In the last three years, he has been knocked out by Frank Mir and Cain Velasquez, suffered from staph infections and knee problems and now is coming off of a year-and-a-half layoff. It seems that Brendan is being given an easy route to the top. Much easier than the road Roy Nelson has traveled. So, I must ask one question. Is Brendan Schaub being given the easy route to the top?