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Currently riding the wave of a two-fight win streak, Brendan Schaub is looking for the biggest, toughest test in the heavyweight division to propel himself into the top ten but there’s only one problem.
All of the top ten heavyweights are tied up at the moment, which leaves Schaub anxious to fight but with no opponents at the ready to face him.
Schaub watched UFC Fight Night from Australia with hopes of taking on the winner of the main event between Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva and Mark Hunt, but after the two behemoths endured a gruesome and grueling battle over five rounds that ended in a draw it’s not likely either will be ready to fight again any time soon.
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So with Hunt and Silva out of the picture, Schaub noticed another heavyweight a little lower down the card that had an impressive performance on Friday night. Soa ‘The Hulk’ Palelei made short work of Pat Barry, ending his night in the first round after some vicious ground and pound finished the fight by knockout.
"I’m in a weird spot because all these guys are tied up. Honestly I’m known to call the bigger names out. I shoot for the moon and land on the stars other times, but everyone is matched up. I wanted to get the winner of Bigfoot and Mark Hunt, but that went to a draw and obviously they are out for a while and I don’t want to wait until June or July to fight. It’s just unrealistic," Schaub told FOX Sports on Saturday.
"So I thought of the toughest guy I could think of and that’s this Hulk character. He seems like a nice guy and a hell of a competitor so that’s where it came from."
As a former training partner of Barry, Schaub knew where his weak points existed going into the fight and Palelei revealed them with perfect execution. Schaub still regards Barry as one of the most dangerous strikers in the UFC, but the ground is where he still struggles to find footing.
Soa’s been fighting in Australia doing his thing there, so I wouldn’t say the competition is at the highest, but he’s obviously doing something right.
Palelei knew that going into the fight and exposed Barry’s weaknesses in a hurry.
"Soa’s been fighting in Australia doing his thing there, so I wouldn’t say the competition is at the highest, but he’s obviously doing something right. You look at his record it speaks for itself. I’ve trained with Pat Barry. Pat’s stand up is some of the best in the world, his stand up is ridiculous," Schaub commented. "That being said, Pat’s not exactly going to enter Abu Dhabi and do well in a jiu-jitsu tournament. Pat’s one of the more one-dimensional fighters in the UFC. If it was 1993, Pat would be killing it, but the game changes.
"It was an easy night for Soa. I was impressed. He took him down, obviously he has huge, heavy hands."
The fight ended with Palelei on top in the mount raining down destruction on Barry with a series of sledgehammer like punches. He remarked after the performance that if he gets on top of an opponent, it’s going to be awfully hard for them to get out again much less survive the onslaught.
Schaub has nothing but respect for Palelei’s skills inside the Octagon, and believes the mammoth heavyweight has earned his reputation for a reason. Still, Schaub welcomes a ground fight with the Australian and believes their fight would go much differently than the one he just had with Pat Barry.
My daycare was having Shane Carwin on top of me early in my career so I welcome that idea. I’m game.
"I’d even be willing to jump to guard on him. That’s not something that concerns me," Schaub said bluntly. "I’m very comfortable off my back. My daycare was having Shane Carwin on top of me early in my career so I welcome that idea. I’m game."
As far as the timing of the fight, Schaub is looking right at UFC 171 in March as a potential date for the fight. With Palelei having a short night on Friday and no health issues, Schaub would like to get the fight booked sooner rather than later and hopefully meet inside the Octagon next March.
"I’d love to see if he’d like to dance on that March card with Glover Teixeira and Jon Jones in Dallas," Schaub said. "That would be the plan."