Two hard-hitting heavyweights are set to bang it out in the center of the Octagon when Brendan Schaub and Matt Mitrione duke it out in Seattle, Wash., when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to "The Emerald City" with UFC on FOX 8 on July 27, 2013.
The former NFL players sparked a friendship on the set of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 10 as members of Rashad Evans's team. Five years later, "Hybrid" and "Meathead" still exchange phone calls at least once every two weeks.
Schaub, for one, is willing to put their "very close" friendship aside for one night if it means getting one step closer to the 265-pound title and warns Matt that once the cage door closes, it's going to be all "business."
Speaking to Rick J. Lee, Schaub dishes on his upcoming scrap against Mitrione and reveals it was his former TUF teammate that broke the fight announcement to him. "Hybrid" also says he is eyeing a potential title shot by the end of the year or the beginning of 2014 and neither Matt nor his mother, will stand in his way.
"I don't know if a lot of people know this. Me and Matt were on season 10 (TUF) together, which was ages ago. Me and Matt probably talk once every two weeks, at least. Since the finale of the show to now. You're talking almost five years ago. Me and Matt are very close friends. I get a call from him around midnight, my time in L.A. which is whatever, like 3:00 A.M. his time in Florida. And I get like 10 missed calls. I'm like, ‘What the hell does Matt want?' Matt's a goofy guy, so I don't know, I thought maybe he drunk dialed. I keep hitting ignore, I got to bed and I wake up next morning and I call and I'm like, ‘What man, what do you want, dog?' He's like, ‘Bro, really? We have to fight each other?' That's how I found out. He's like, ‘Yeah man, Joe Silva just called my manager and we have to fight each other.' He's coming off his controversial suspension where he got fined, so, he's in no position to say no. Listen, it is a business, this is entertainment. I love Matt, he knows this. I wish I could fight any other heavyweight, but, you just can't. One thing I can guarantee you is that Matt and I will put on a show. And I told him, ‘Look, I'm going to sign the contract and we can still text and whatever you want to do, but, once I step into the Octagon, it's on. I'm not your friend in here.' He realizes it's a business and I have some business which is to get to that title shot by the end of 2013 or start of 2014. You can put my mom in gloves right now and if they call me, I would have to fight her. That's how bad I want it. So, whether it's Matt, whether it's my brother or whether it's my mom, it's going down."
And while we really don't expect momma Schaub to don a pair of UFC gloves to fight her son, it's rather refreshing to see a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter willing to put a "close friendship" aside for the "business" of fighting.
Both men broke their two fight skids in their previous outings with Mitrione knocking out Philip De Fries at UFC on FUEL TV 9 last April in the very first round and Schaub winning a lackluster unanimous decision against Lavar Johnson at UFC 157.
"Meathead' was recently reinstated after he was suspended for his verbal assault on transgender fighter Fallon Fox. Upon his return, he'll face a hungry and motivated Schaub who is not only eager to erase the memory of the stinker that was his fight against Johnson, but eyeing a shot at the gold, too.
But before he can look ahead to his bout against his friend, Schaub -- with the permission of UFC President Dana White -- will compete at the Metamoris 2: "Gracie vs. Aoki" grappling tournament on June 9, 2013 as he takes on Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) veteran and multiple gold medal-winning jiu-jitsu black belt, Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu.
That's one month before his showdown against "Meathead."
Here's praying there are no injuries.