Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight veteran, Brendan Schaub, had a plan heading into UFC 181 last Saturday night (Dec. 6, 2014) against Travis Browne:
Score a huge "Hapa" upset and talk his way into a world title fight ... or at least a No. 1 contender eliminator match.
That's quite a bold plan, considering "Hybrid" isn't even a Top 15-ranked fighter (see latest list here) and had dropped three of his last five matches heading into this past weekend, including knockout losses to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Roy Nelson.
Unsurprisingly, his road to title contention never got off the ground because Browne battered The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 10 runner up en route to a late first round technical knockout (watch video highlights here). One that was set up with a crushing uppercut, which admittedly "rocked" Schaub and affected his ability to intelligently defend himself in the eyes of the in-ring referee.
It's also a blow (and many more like it) that ringside announcer, Joe Rogan, feels could be detrimental to Schaub's long-term health. Rogan had Schaub on his latest "The Joe Rogan Experience" podcast and was brutally honest about his mixed martial arts (MMA) skills and future in the sport.
Here is a sampling (via @Fight_Ghost):
"You are a smart dude. You know about concussions you have had.... The reality is, I don’t see you beating elite guys. You have no fluidity.... When I look at the performances, you are not an elite fighter. I know what I am seeing. You are not recognizing.... Are you comfortable getting knocked out three to four times in the next few years?... You are not fighting at that level. You are going to get fucking hit man. I worry. You leave more openings, you have vulnerabilities.... 15 minutes with an elite fighter. You can’t do that. Your brain doesn’t get better from punches. [Fabricio] Werdum, Cain [Velasquez] -- they are another level than you.... You telegraph too much. It is real obvious what you are going to do. You are predictable. Arlovski was a terrible fight.... Reality of brain damage is that it doesn’t heal.... The brain is a motherfucker. Shit doesn’t heal."
Schaub apparently didn't offer much in terms of feedback during the ambush, but that's probably because he was caught off guard by Rogan's unvarnished critique. It clearly was not mean-spirited -- Rogan just does not want to see a friend continue to endure life-altering punishment at the hands of way more talented competition.
In fact, Rogan even quipped that he "might just take the day off" the next time Schaub steps inside the Octagon so he does not have to bare witness to more head trauma.
And there more than likely will be a next time -- Schaub does not seem intent on retirement, especially if he had his expectations set so high just three days ago.