Climbing the ranks of the heavyweight division, "The Hybrid" Brendan Schaub believes a victory over the seasoned veteran Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira justifies a title shot.
Live from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, UFC 134 will showcase a plethora of American fighters versus the hometown bred Brazilian mixed martial artists.
In his ninth professional MMA contest, Schaub will be involved in his biggest matchup to date, as he takes on the former Pride heavyweight champion and 32-6-1 Nogueira.
"The Hybrid" spoke with MMA Nation regarding his assertion that a defeat over such a highly-regarded fighter like Nogueira in Rodrigo's back yard would validate a title contention.
Nogueira is one of the top jiu-jitsu practitioners in all of mixed martial arts. With 20 submission victories to his credit, the elder twin is more than capable of defeating an opponent off his back.
Realizing the jiu-jitsu game that Nogueira brings inside the Octagon, Schaub has been training diligently in his groundwork.
"He's [Schaub's jiu-jitsu coach in Denver, Colorado Emal Easton] a guy who I trust 100% and sometimes he definitely over works me especially when I fight jiu jitsu guys... He just puts it into overdrive and makes sure my jiu jitsu defense and offense is ready to go to compete with these guys so he's definitely a huge element of my success," Schaub stated.
Responding to the pressure of fighting Nogueira in Brazil, Schaub told MMA Nation, "...I'm fighting possibly the greatest heavyweight of all time in his backyard and man, I'm definitely the underdog in this situation and not only physically - it's one thing to get mentally prepared and physically this is gonna take a special effort by me on August 27 to beat this guy in front of his home crowd. So this is by far my biggest challenge."
A true realist with respect to this matchup, Schaub is maintaining a level head and a professional composure going into this weekend's battle in Brazil and not leaving the fight up to the judges to decide a victor.
"With that Brazilian crowd behind him, this is going to be the closest thing to the pressure of a title fight as you can get which is why I have asked for this and a win's a win," Schaub said.
"This thing isn't going to the judges. You're crazy if you think I'm letting this go to the judges. If it goes to the third round you're gonna see some crazy stuff from me to try and finish this guy. I'll take the win however I can get it. All I can guarantee is that it won't go to a decision," commented "The Hybrid."
A victory for Schaub over Nogueira would catapult the young fighter's career. "I think if I were to beat Nogueira in convincing fashion and beating the likes of Gonzaga, Cro Cop, and Nogueira - no one in the division right now can say that. I think if you look at the layout of the land, I think it makes sense [to request a title shot]."
Whether or not a victory for "The Hybrid" earns the heavyweight a title shot is up to Dana White and the UFC.
A victory over Nogueira would definitely position the young fighter in the top seven of the UFC heavyweight division.
Stay tuned this Saturday at UFC 134:Rio to see if Schaub's dreams become a reality.
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