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Brendan Schaub on the path to a UFC title


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Ultimate Fighter alumnus Brendan Schaub is all about big opportunities. He has one before him on Saturday when he takes on Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 121 in Anaheim, Calif.


Schaub’s road through mixed martial arts has seen only one loss in seven fights, so it’s safe to say that the 27-year-old Coloradan has seen his share of success.


His next shot at building on his career’s momentum is one that he recognizes as, to say the least, an exciting opportunity. Apparently, it’s so exciting that it causes the Grudge fighter to leap for joy.


Schaub came back to where he was a radio correspondent and gave us the lowdown on how he reacted when he received the offer to fight Gonzaga.


“Jumping around frantically, man,” Schaub said on MMA Weekly Radio. “I was so pumped. And then it settles in and you’re like, ‘holy balls, I’m fighting Gabriel Gonzaga!’”


With two straight wins coming by knockout in the first round, Schaub feels that he’s ready to get in their and tangle with the top of the UFC’s heaviest division.


“I’m ready for this,” he declared. “I feel like I can compete with any of those top contenders, and now it’s time to go out there and prove it.”


They say styles make fights. In mixed martial arts, that’s exactly what you’ll get, several styles meshed together in a cage built to test the best against the best.


As far as Brazilian jiu-jitsu goes, Gonzaga is one of the biggest and most talented fighters to use the art form. It only seems appropriate that, when preparing for a fighter like that, one should bring in a battery of like kind and quality sparring partners to mimic a pending opponent.


Gonzaga, however, has shown a pattern of wanting to test opponents in the stand-up department. So it’s tough to say that he’ll go to the canvas with Schaub and try to outclass him in a grappling match.


Either way, “The Hybrid” is prepared for wherever the fight goes.


“I really don’t care where the fight goes,” Schaub said. “I’m not expecting Gabe to come in and stand with me. I’m not expecting him to come in and take me down right away either. I’m just going to go out there and put my game plan on him.”


There is a level of confidence that every fighter must have in order to compete in mixed martial arts. That confidence can come off as ****y to some. But for those that have seen Schaub fight, arrogance isn’t the issue here.


What it is about Schaub is his track record of putting guys down in the first round. This allows him to believe in a game plan that he feels will produce success throughout his career.


It also allows him to concern himself more with other things, and not so much with his pending adversary.


“I’m not too concerned about what my opponent does,” said Schaub. “I believe in my skills, and I know how hard and how well prepared I am for the fight. So, I know if I go out there and I bring my A-game on Oct. 23, I guarantee you it’s (going to be) better than Gonzaga’s A-game.”


It’s been nearly a year since Schaub fought his first UFC fight. Although it was a first-round loss to Roy Nelson, it can be chalked up as a learning experience, and now, with less than a week before his fight against a former title contender, Schaub is mapping out his road from here on out.


“Being the Ultimate Fighter was in my past,” said the TUF 10 finalist. “Now I’m on a different path... that’s the path to becoming a world champion.”

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