Brendan Schaub is without a doubt one of the UFC's rising stars in the heavyweight division. Since his devastating first-round KO loss to Roy Nelson, in his UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights Finale, he has gone 4-0 with three (T)KO finishes.
As a matter of fact he has two victories in common with current #1 contender Junior Dos Santos, in the form of Mirko Cro Cop and Gabriel Gonzaga. Needless to say he has all the makings of a future contender, and he's climbing up the ladder at a respectable rate.
But a closer look reveals that while he has been doing well lately, he may be making a big mistake by looking past Minotauro Nogueira this Saturday night in Brazil at UFC 134, and towards former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.
While he does share two wins with JDS, the weight of each of those victories is not equal. JDS defeated Cro Cop while he was on an undefeated four fights streak, whereas Schaub took down the Croation who was KO'd by Frank Mir and had wins over two journeyman fighters (one of which is a career Light-Heavyweight).
Not to take anything away from Schaub for knocking out one of the most feared heavyweight strikers in the history of MMA, but when it comes to rankings, Cro Cop was a few notches higher at UFC 103 against JDS than he was against Schaub at UFC 128.
Next we have Gabriel Gonzaga. While Schaub was the next opponent to face Gonzaga after JDS, that fight was with Gonzaga coming off a loss, whereas prior to the JDS fight Gonzaga was 3-1 in his last four, with the lone loss coming to Shane Carwin by way of, that's right you guessed it, first round KO.
As mentioned before, Schaub shares two wins with JDS, but he also shares a third opponent where the outcome was quite different. As previously mentioned he was defeated by Roy Nelson, a fighter whom JDS defeated by unanimous decision at UFC 117. When questioned about wanting a rematch, Schaub's answer indicated he thinks he's now too good for the guy who knocked him out.
One commonly overlooked consistency with Schaub's record is that every single one of his opponents in the UFC has come off a loss prior to facing him, to include Roy Nelson who's last official fight before Schaub was decision loss to Jeff Monsen, preceded by a KO loss to Andrei Arlovski. Big Nog's last fight was a KO loss to current UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Valasquez.
The argument can and should be made for Brendan Schaub having to start fighting competitors who are not journeymen, or once great fighters in the twilight of their career. He has yet to do enough to earn a fight with someone such as Brock Lesnar, although that matchup would keep him consistent with taking opponent coming off a loss.
When one looks at the heavyweight landscape, the best fighter who comes to mind is Frank Mir, as he is coming off two wins has pretty much already fought everyone else in the division. Of course that won't matter if Schaub is unable to get past Minotauro Nogueira this Saturday, and we can all ponder different match-ups for different fighters. And that's the bottom line.
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