Most fans of MMA don't know who Adam Schindler is yet, but he's hoping to change that tomorrow night (June 25, 2011) at Bellator 46 in Hollywood, Florida.
The Air Force veteran and overall 9-1 fighter will be stepping into the cage against one of the most decorated featherweight prospects on the planet in Ronnie Mann in the quarterfinals of the Bellator Featherweight Summer Series.
Schindler is a veteran of undercard fights for both Strikeforce and Bellator, having won both contests and he's ready to take his young career to the next level. Everyone will know his name if he can navigate through this stacked featherweight field and come out on top by the end of the season.
The upstart Texas transplant discussed his background, his goals and his huge upcoming fight in this exclusive interview with MMAmania.com.
Schindler lists his impressive wrestling credentials which he'll need for Ronnie Mann after the jump.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I know you had a really big background in wrestling. Can you talk about your credentials? I know you were a high school champion on the national level.
Adam Schindler: I was an AAU national champion as a kid. Actually, in the juniors, I won like five state champions, I won an Ohio state championship and then going into high school I won AAU nationals going into my high school career. As a high schooler, I was a two-time high school state champion. My freshman year, I went undefeated in my weight classes and then I lost by one point. I had beat the former state champ twice that year and in the state finals in the quarterfinals to a guy by one point and he lost to the guy I had beaten twice in the finals. After my freshman year, I quit. I didn’t even wrestle my sophomore year. I was kinda like that kid that al I wanted to do was be a four time state champ and if I couldn’t b ea four time state champ I didn’t care about it. I was kind of a brat. I missed it and my junior and senior year I came back and won state both years. My high school career record was 127-5 so I was pretty used to winning.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You’ve mentioned that you got in some trouble and that was one of the reasons you didn’t compete in college. Is that something you’d want to talk about?
Adam Schindler: The thing is that I had the opportunity to go to West Virginia University, to walk on but most of my friends were going to Marshall. I was so burnt out on wrestling that I didn’t want to wrestle anymore in college. I was telling my parents and my coaches that I didn’t want to wrestle. I got in some big trouble that summer and my parents didn’t let me go to college anyways so I ended up going to the military instead. The trouble never stayed with me because I got out of the trouble by enlisting.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Do you credit the military for shaping you up? You seem a lot more composed and mature now.
Adam Schindler: Yes I do completely. I grew up in a small town and I was "The Adam Schindler" in that small town. I basically thought I could get away with whatever I wanted. I was a young kid and I was used to being the best at everything and being special. When I went into the military, I was just another number. I wasn’t special anymore. I was just as big a dirtbag as the guy next to me. It kind of forced me to look at myself a little differently and think, "you know what? I HAVE to work harder." I can’t just slide by on things because I’m naturally talented." I was always the kid who was naturally talented and didn’t quite work as hard but now that I work hard and still have that natural talent, I’ve completely gone to another level.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You definitely have. I’ve got a chance to watch some of your fights. When you got out of the military, what kind of prompted the decision to start to fight?
Adam Schindler: Well, I actually was still in the military when I started training and I had about five or six months left when I first walked into an MMA gym and I wasn’t sure I wanted to fight at first. I got in and that first week turned into a month and then I was there every day. My first amateur fight was like two and a half months after I walked into the gym so it was really quick. I decided that whenever I got out of the military, I got a job when I got out of the military with the government but when I was in the military, I always told myself that I was never gonna work another job that I don’t love again if I don’t have to. So I decided that I was going to do what I love to do and I quickly changed my life and my lifestyle and decided to change. A lot of my friends were saying, "what are you going to do when you get out?" because the mind-set in the military is a lot of guys use their four years and get out and use the GI bill to get in, get married, have kids and then they’re financially obligated to stay in for the certain paycheck. I didn’t have any of that so I was gonna get out and I told them, "I’m gonna fight." People looked at me like I was crazy saying, "no, what are you really gonna do?" They thought it me putting all my chips in the "rear-world" basket and a lot of people thought I was taking a huge risk but I put my mind to it and did it.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You’ve had a very successful professional career thus far, you’re 9-1 and you made your Bellator debut against Brian Melencon. Can you talk about that fight? It was just a crazy hectic first round where you guys were trading knockdowns and pretty much going for broke non-stop.
Adam Schindler: That fight was really nuts. I watch the first round sometimes and when I watch it I just start laughing because it was so crazy. I remember whenever I was walking out I was like, "alright Adam, don’t go balls to the wall for the first minute because this could go 15 minutes." At one point in the first round, I had knocked him down and he had knocked me down and we’d created a scramble and I had him in the front headlock position and the cameras zoom in on us and you see my eyes look up to the big screen on the wall to see the time and the time says "3:42" and I’m like, "no freaking way has it only been 1:18." It was just a crazy fight and it wasn’t technical. The announcers even said, "this is how they teach you how to not box." (laughs) The fact is that I knew he’d been knocking everyone out and even since I fought him, he’s been knocking everyone out. My gameplan was to go out there and punch him in the mouth as hard as I can to say, "I’m not gonna back down and you’re not gonna knock me out." The funny thing about that is we gained each other’s respect. It was an all-out war and he just signed a four fight deal with Strikeforce.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You were a lightweight champion and you made your Bellator debut at lightweight. Did you just drop to featherweight or is that something you did immediately after your Bellator fight?
Adam Schindler: I’ve always fought at lightweight and I’ve kind of been denying that I was a featherweight because I am a natural featherweight. I’m only 5’8 and while I’m big and strong, when I watch my diet, I’m only walking around at 160 pounds. I’m not cutting a lot of weight. I haven’t gotten in a sauna to make weight since, I don’t even remember. We’ve been talking with Bellator ever since my last fight about getting in the tournament and they just didn’t have anything available at 155 and they asked me about going to 145 and I said, "yeah of course." My manager Ron Foster told me, "if you can make 145, you’re in." I hadn’t been to 145 since I was 16 when I wrestled my junior year. It’s not hard for me at all. I walked out of the gym at 155 this morning and I’m a week and a half out. I did a test cut three weeks ago just to prove to everyone that I can make 145 and it won’t cause any problems. I did the test cut and the next day I did six six-minute rounds so it’s not gonna affect me.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Let’s talk about this Bellator debut. You’re coming into this Summer Series tournament against one of the top prospects at 145 in the world in Ronnie Mann. Can you talk about this experience so far?
Adam Schindler: My life hasn’t changed much yet. I still get in and the only thing that’s different is the focus. I know what’s at stake here in this fight and I’ve acted accordingly. I’ve never had a better camp. I’ve never been in better shape. My diet’s been clean the whole time. I feel ready to go. For me to be in this field with Ronnie Mann and Marlon Sandro and Pat Curran and all these really good guys Is a huge honor and it’s a proving grounds for me. I’m ready to show everyone who doesn’t know who Adam Schindler is just who I really am.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Can you talk about Ronnie Mann? He’s a tremendous grappler and just really talented. In his Bellator debut he tossed his opponent around and almost toyed with him.
Adam Schindler: Yeah, I’ve watched that fight a bunch of times and I’ve got a lot of respect for Ronnie. I think he’s really good on the ground. He’s got a brown belt in jiu-jitsu. I’m a brown belt in jiu-jitsu. He’s got good wrestling, I’ve got good wrestling too. I don’t think he’s gonna be able to control me like that. We’ll see what happens but I’m definitely gonna bring the fight to him. I’m not gonna sit in guard and get beat up like that kid did. I watched that fight and I keep thinking, "why is this kid just sitting there?" He didn’t any sweeps. He didn’t attempt any submissions. He didn’t even try to get up. He just got beat up. So it’s good that Ronnie was able to control him and beat him up, he’s got good ground and pound but I’m excited about it. He’s a really tough opponent and it’s an honor to fight him.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Do you have any predictions on how you think your fight is going to play out, how you think it will finish?
Adam Schindler: I don’t really have a prediction but I don’t he’ll be able to take me down. If it goes to the ground, I think I’ll be on top. I’ve got good submission attempts. I’m a brown belt in jiu-jitsu just like he is and I’m ready to bang too so I think it’s gonna be a great fight. I don’t think he’ll be able to push me around. I think I’ll be bigger than him so it’s gonna be a really good fight. I’m excited about it. It’s been a long time coming. I’ve known about this tournament since February and I feel like I’ve been in a four month camp.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Any last words for the fans?
Adam Schindler: I want all the fans to know that I’m here and I’m for real. Whenever I say I’m gonna do something, I do it. I’m not gonna go out there and pitty-patter around. I’m gonna bring it to Ronnie Mann all 15 minutes if it has to go 15 minutes. For those that don’t know me, make sure to tune in because you’re gonna like what you see.
Adam would like to thank CP Redemption Clothing, Four Oz. Fight Club, Arm Bar Submission Gear, ML Management and his team Team Cook.
Is Schindler's confidence infectious? Can he pull off the upset in his Bellator featherweight debut on Saturday night?