UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub has the biggest challenge of his pro MMA career ahead of him this weekend as he is set to take on #3-ranked Travis Browne at UFC 181.
Schaub hasn't fought since he lost a controversial split-decision to Andrei Arlovski at UFC 174 in June. Speaking on why he hasn't competed in six months despite remaining healthy, the Ultimate Fighter season 10 finalist said it wouldn't have been this way if it were up to him.
"I don't know, it's the layout of the heavyweight division. I don't like these incredibly long lay-offs, it's not good," Brendan told MMAFighting.com. "What can you do though? There's nothing I can do, I just train to get better. I'm excited for Saturday night."
A convincing win for the currently unranked Schaub over a top-five opponent would be huge for his career and would surely, at least, catapult him into the top-ten. But despite that, he feels no pressure ahead of UFC 181.
"I think the pressure's more on Travis Browne," he said. "He's number-three in the world, he switched camps. The pressure's on him, man. I'm going out there and having fun."
After his unanimous decision loss to Fabricio Werdum in his last outing, Browne switched his camp from his long-time home at Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico to Glendale Fighting Club in Los Angeles where UFC women's bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey trains.
For¬†the co-host of¬†The Figher and the Kid¬†podcast, this move by Travis seems like a mistake.
"Really it's just leaving Jackson's. I've trained there. You're leaving the stable of some of the best fighters in the world. I live in the Los Angeles area, I go to every gym, I know the layout and the ground-works of mixed martial arts in Los Angeles and I just think he made a wrong choice."
He added: "I don't know his situation in Albuquerque. It might have been a disaster there, maybe they're massaging Alistair Overeem's ego too much, I don't know what it is that made him leave. So I can't comment on that. I know there's better camps to go to."
Rousey's head coach, Edmond Tarverdyan, fired back at Schaub this past Monday on The MMA Hour, saying he thinks Brendan "can't fight for s**t."
"I can't be bothered by that, I don't care," 'Big Brown' responded. "That's like Kimbo Slice's jiu-jitsu coach making fun of me. It's like, alright, you're Ronda's striking coach. She wins every fight by submission, really. I don't care, he's putting more pressure on Travis."
He may be drastically further down in the rankings than Browne and entering this fight as a big underdog, but¬†Schaub's confidence isn't shaken.¬†
"I just think I have too many ways to win. I think Travis, he's the most dangerous heavyweight in the world, but I'm a monster, man. Just because he's so dangerous doesn't mean he's a better fighter. I just think I'm a better fighter than he is."
Schaub vs Browne is set to take place at UFC 181 on Saturday December 6th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.