USA’s Pat Schilling (5-1) will face fellow countryman Max Holloway (4-1) on June 1, 2012 at The Ultimate Fighter 15 Finale. He talked to GroundandPound about his UFC debut, his fight against Holloway and his plans for the future.
GroundandPound: Hello Pat, did you know that you share your second name with the former currency of Austria?
Pat Schilling: (laughs) I did know that, actually.
What is it like to fight in the UFC?
Fighting in the UFC is hard to describe. You know when you picture it: how cool it is to hear your introduction music playing, seeing and hearing all the fans cheering, meeting the faces you've seen on TV for years; it is every bit as cool as you think it is! It is definitely surreal, and a dream come true.
You lost your first UFC fight against Daniel Pineda, what went wrong for you in that fight?
My fight against Pineda was definitely tough. He's an excellent opponent, who has since already won his next fight, and has a chance to beat a former WEC champ (Mike Brown) at UFC 146. I should have probably been more offensive with my wrestling, and not rushed so much on the ground. I felt I was winning the striking briefly, but got caught by the fence.
You are quite a young fighter, do you think experience was a factor in the fight?
I didn't feel like experience played too much of a role in the fight. Obviously he had a lot more fights than me and fought bigger names, but I still felt like I would be able to win.
In your next fight you will face Max Holloway, what do you think and know about him?
Max Holloway is a very tough fighter. He is the youngest fighter in the UFC, and the first time I have fought someone younger than me in a very long time, though he has been training in MMA longer than I have. He was giving Dustin Poirier all he could handle on the feet in his fight, so I know it will be a challenge to fight him.
Without telling to much, what will be your strategy against him?
Against Max, I just have to control the pace. He likes to start things fast, but I like to start them faster. I feel like I can control where the fight goes.
How does your preparation for the fight look like and who are your training partners?
I've been training differently for this fight. I've been doing a lot of Olympic weight lifting, and my strength and conditioning are much better. I've gone to many gyms in Minnesota and have worked with a variety of coaches and partners to work on every part of my game.
What do you think are the strength and weaknesses of your fight game?
I think my biggest strengths are my agility, strength, and unpredictability. I have an unorthodox style that can keep my opponents guessing, and I am not afraid to try something brand new in the cage. I would say my biggest weakness is experience, but with one fight in the UFC, I feel like that has gotten much better.
What are your goals for the future?
In the future, I would just like to win and keep winning. I work full-time as well as train, so I would like to be able to not have to work, and only get to train. I would also like to be a positive role model for people who watch the sport, and show people that living your dream is possible, and life is an amazing thing.