The Big Brown Breakdown: Brendan Schaub analyzes UFC Fight Night
UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub has a second career as the co-host of The Fighter and the Kid podcast, and is one of the sharpest fight analysts in the game. So, we decided to check in with him for his thoughts Sunday’s two biggest UFC Fight Night bouts.
In the main event, the heavily favored Conor McGregor takes on experienced UFC veteran Dennis Siver. Schaub thinks that the Irishman is the big favorite for good reason.
"I think this fight is more about how McGregor will win, not whether or not he will," he says.
"People will tune in to see how he can win this time. Siver is good, but McGregor’s speed and style are just not a good matchup for him. I think the UFC knows this, and so they wanted to showcase McGregor here, to build up for a title fight between him and Jose Aldo."
As for that controversial call by UFC president Dana White to announce that McGregor is just one win away from challenging the UFC’s longest-reigning champ, Schaub says it needs to be put into proper perspective. "People complain about McGregor being given a title shot if he beats Siver, and I understand, because that will only be his fifth UFC fight. But, people also have to understand that the UFC is a promotion, and like circuses, it has to be promoted to get people’s attention," he explains.
"If you go to a circus, you might see a bunch elephants. The elephants are big and impressive, but they are all gray. If suddenly you have a pink elephant, that’s going to grab people’s attention. People want to watch that pink elephant because it’s so different, so special. There are very few of those pink elephants in the UFC. Brock Lesnar was one, and Conor McGregor is another. People just want to watch him. They want to watch him fight, they want to hear him talk. So, the UFC has to promote him."
With that said, Schaub says that Donald Cerrone vs. Benson Henderson deserves to be considered the "real" main event of UFC Fight Night, this Sunday. The former lightweight champ Henderson will face Cerrone for the third time.
Schaub, who knows both men well, says that he picks Cerrone to finally beat Henderson, in a close fight. The advantage the crazy "Cowboy" will have in this co-main event, according to "The Hybrid," is a psychological one.
"The one that people should really care about and pay attention to is Donald Cerrone against Benson Henderson," Schaub says.
"Henderson has beaten Cerrone twice before, and he’s a great fighter, a former champion. I know both guys and love both of them. It will be so close, but I think Cerrone will have an edge simply because of his activity level. The amount that he’s fighting is just unbelievable, just incredible. Cerrone is doing what every fighter wants to do â fight often, and win and make a lot of money doing it â but no one can actually do. What he’s doing is incredible, and I think it will make the difference for him.
"Cerrone hasn’t taken too much damage in these fights he’s won. I thought he would be tested hard by Myles Jury, but he seemed to win that pretty easily. Now, he’s fighting again two weeks later, and he won’t have the same level of nerves, hesitation, fear that a fighter will normally have, that Henderson will have, because it’s been some months since he last fought. Cerrone is fighting so often that he’s got to be completely comfortable in the cage, where most fighters will have to fight rust, and hesitation."
If Cerrone does manage to beat Henderson on Sunday, it will be his seventh straight win, in just over a year’s time. If Schaub were Cerrone’s manager, he’d advise the active fighter to finally take a rest and wait for a lightweight title shot.
"I’d tell him to wait for a title shot," Schaub says of Cerrone, should he be victorious Sunday.
"I know it’s hard for a guy like Cerrone to wait, and lightweight champion] Pettis has a fight in March so that will make the timing a little off. But opportunities for a title don’t come along very often, and once you have one, it may never come again. If Cerrone beats a former world champ in Benson, and wins his seventh straight, he is the man to challenge for the title. His style, his story, his personality, and all that he’s accomplished will set him apart as the number one contender, and he should wait for that title shot."