Brendan Schaub stood in front of an electric crowd in Anaheim, Calif. at UFC 121, and conducted an interview with UFC commentator Joe Rogan.
Rogan asked Schaub if he was surprised that he couldn't finish his opponent, Gabriel "Napao" Gonzaga, but Schaub wasn't surprised at all.
He trains for every fight as if he's expecting to go the entire 15-minute duration every time, and even though most of his wins never left round one, he proved in Anaheim that he's not a man who banks on a first-round win every time.
The first two rounds were sheer dominance on the feet by Schaub, who actually knocked Gonzaga down in the first round.
From there on out, the man did more damage on his feet than he was able to with his takedowns, as every attempt was stuffed by a sprawling Gonzaga.
I'm not quite certain that an argument could be made as a testament to Gonzaga actually winning the fight, unless it's possible for one to win a round 10-9 for being a bit busted up heading into round three and I just forgot.
In any event, the crowd booed what was otherwise a good fight when both men waited to strike respectively and chose to pick their times to strikes, whereas in other parts of the bout they cheered as it appeared that the fight would in fact see a slugfest and a shocking KO.
Now this may or may not have hit anyone quite yet, but let me just tell you what happened if you haven't gotten it yet:
Brendan Schaub just beat a former UFC heavyweight title contender in Gabriel Gonzaga.
The man who knocked out Mirko Filipovic to earn a shot at Randy Couture and the UFC heavyweight title just got his dome rocked by a young up-and-comer.
Does that mean that we can put Schaub in the water with the sharks in the UFC heavyweight tank?
I'd say that considering how much of a jump Gonzaga was from Chris Tuchsherer and Chase Gormley, I wouldn't have a reason to think he's not at least close to that point.
Now, I don't mean that to say that if his next fight is against Frank Mir or Pat Barry or Stefan Struve that he'd wreck their business without a sweat, because those guys are some of the toughest fights you can get without going directly for the throne.
He'd have a hard time hanging with the likes of those guys—well, Mir anyway—in the cage.
Does that mean that he can't improve his skill set and grow to become technically better in some aspects of his game than his opponents?
Of course it does.
The fact of the matter is that whether he finished Gonzaga or not, the man is impressing more and more people with each fight that he takes on.
The only blemish on his record is Roy Nelson, but since then he has proven by beating some promising up-and-comers—as well as a very tough BJJ ace in Napao at UFC 121—that he's hungry for the top dogs in the division.
Can "The Hybrid" be ready to take on more experienced talent as he did tonight in Anaheim?
I think he can, and I hope Joe Silva and Dana White give him that chance when he fights next.