Trevor Wittman (far right) with UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub (second from right)
Trevor Wittman is a huge fan of Brendan Schaub.
The head coach of the Grudge Training Center in Denver, Colorado, believes he's found a diamond in the rough with The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 10 finalist.
Brendan is coming off a big knockout victory over Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic and will be fighting former UFC interim champion and Pride legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in Brazil for UFC 134 this coming August
His coach was more than happy to discuss "The Hybrid's" fighting mentality, why he chose to fight Nogueira in Rio and if he thinks he's ready for the top fighters in the UFC in part three this exclusive interview with MMAmania.com.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Let's talk about Brendan Schaub. He took out a legend in his last fight in Mirko Filipovic. Is he just trying to run the full gamut of of heavyweight legends in going after Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira next?
Trevor Wittman: Brendan is such a unique character. He's such a pleasure to work with. This guy is just another unique talent I have with me. Going on The Ultimate Fighter, I'm gonna give you a little situation of something that's just so unique with him. With The Ultimate Fighter, I was a coach on there with him and we go on there as coaches and we're trying to create the best strategy of who we want to fight who so we can get eight wins in a row and every time we talked to Brendan we were like, "hey, we want you to fight 'this' guy," and he would say, "no, I want to fight 'this' guy" and I'd say, "why?" and he'd go, "because I feel he's the best and I wanna fight him."
He was wanting to fight the best right away. Here's a guy coming in lacking the experience but his confidence is just through the roof! To be a trainer and see that every time we have a fight he's calling saying, "I want this fight." He wanted the Cro Cop fight so bad because Cro Cop was his favorite fighter when he was in college and before he even thought of being a fighter, before he thought of coming into this game, he was playing football, watching Cro Cop with his buddies in college and here he is saying, "I want to fight this guy. He was my favorite fighter and I want to kick his ass." To me, that's such a cool trait, His confidence is so high and he's growing so much in the gym and I'm really excited to see him go out there against Nogueira. He's one of the best out and there and it's great as a trainer to have someone who wants to go out there and fight the best all the time.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): It's definitely going to be a tough test going all the way down to Brazil and fighting Nogueira on his home turf.
Trevor Wittman: That's the funniest thing about it. They gave us the option to fight him at UFC 135 in Denver, which would our hometown or Rio and Brendan chose Rio. To me, that is the coolest thing ever. I'm nervous to go down there and be in that atmosphere in a difference country where that's one of their man guys. He stepped up and said, "let's make it in Rio." I love challenges. The bigger the challenge, the better the outcome and the better the feeling when you overcome it. He picked a big challenge and I'm excited to take the ride with him.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Nogueira is known for his legendary chin but in two of his last three fights he's been cracked a little bit by Frank Mir and Cain Velasquez. What did you take from those fights to help Brendan's game?
Trevor Wittman: We watched a lot of the tapes of all the fights he's been in. Any tape that we could get our hands on, and there's a lot of them, we're studying them and seeing what he's been doing in his last couple fights. We're kinda riding the wave and seeing what [Brendan] can take out of it. I have all the confidence in the world that Brendan will go out there and stop him.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): A victory over Nogueira would really launch him into the top of the division. Do you think he's ready for that challenge?
Trevor Wittman: Oh yeah. I definitely think he's ready. It's one of those things. He's on a big mission right now and he's fighting guys like Gonzaga and Cro Cop and going after it and finishing guys like Cro Cop. He's on the top of the fence. Mir went out there and stopped Cro Cop in the third round and look where he's at. He's right in title contention or getting really close and I definitely feel Brendan's right there in the mix, potentially top five so if we go out there and beat Nogueira then we're definitely in the top five. I'm looking forward to it and I'm ready to see Brendan mix it up with the top guns.
So what do you think?
Is Schaub biting more than he can chew by going after Nogueira in Brazil? Or can he put "Big Nog" down?
Sound off, Maniacs!
You can follow Trevor @TrevorWittman on Twitter and get the latest updates on his gym @GrudgeMMA or the gym's website GrudgeTrainingCenter.com. Check out Trevor's sponsor Alchemist. He also wants to thank his wife who's his biggest supporter.
In case you missed it, here's part one of MMAmania's interview with Trevor where he discusses Shane Carwin's performance at UFC 131 and part two where he talks Nate Marquardt's upcoming fight with Rick Story