Heavyweight Brendan Schaub is set to face Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 134 later this month. Schaub, who is coming off of a strong four-fight win streak with three finishes, was nothing but respectful in a recent interview with Eduardo Cruz of Fighter’s Only regarding his upcoming bout and fighting in Brazil.
“Brazil to me is the founding country of MMA, and that’s why I wanted to fight on the UFC Rio card,” Schaub said. “I grew up idolizing the Brazilian fighters – Royce and Renzo Gracie, Wanderlei Silva, the Nogueira brothers, and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua… It doesn’t get any bigger than fighting Nog in Brazil.”
Schaub’s fight with Nogueira caps off an impressive string of victories for the former Ultimate Fighter finalist that culminated with a decision win over Gabriel Gonzaga and a knockout victory over former Pride FC champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic. The rising star recalled his nerves when he first faced such experienced fighters.
“I’ve never been so nervous as when the UFC asked me to fight Gonzaga,” Schaub admitted. “He’s such a dangerous fighter and has been a huge star amongst the best, so it was a big step up for me. I trained so hard and it was a fight that put me on the map and in the right direction of becoming UFC champion.”
When asked about his sole loss to former IFL Heavyweight Champion Roy Nelson on the finale of The Ultimate Fighter in 2009, Schaub said, “I think I was just inexperienced. Roy was a former world champion with 20 fights, but it was my first big fight. Roy did a great job. I’ve learned and moved on – which shows in my past fights, I think.”
UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami will take place on Saturday, August 27 at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The event is headlined by a middleweight championship between between current kingpin Anderson Silva and challenger Yushin Okami.