Joe Schilling on training Nate Diaz and Royce Gracie, Friday’s GLORY superfight

The fight with Lemaire came together on two weeks' notice, Lemaire moving from a middleweight tournament slot on the numbered card to take this…

By: John Joe O'Regan | 8 years ago
Joe Schilling on training Nate Diaz and Royce Gracie, Friday’s GLORY superfight
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

The fight with Lemaire came together on two weeks’ notice, Lemaire moving from a middleweight tournament slot on the numbered card to take this fight with Schilling in the headline slot of what will be GLORY’s first card to air live on the UFC FIGHT PASS platform.

“I think he is a good opponent, he has a decent record in Muay Thai outside of GLORY, but I don’t think he has fought anywhere near the level of competition that I have fought, and I think that will show. I wish him luck with his career, he can bounce back after this loss [tonight],” he tells Bloody Elbow in his usual laconic fashion.

Schilling would have been fighting for the middleweight title tonight but he and GLORY couldn’t agree terms on a new deal in time, GLORY wanting exclusivity on his kickboxing activities if he was going to fight for and possibly hold the title. Schilling’s manager Mike Kogan has advised him against it and appears set on steering him towards the recently formed Bellator Kickboxing.

And so it is Simon ‘Bad Bwoy’ Marcus who will face Artem ‘The Lion’ Levin in tonight’s numbered card headliner, which airs live on the ESPN 3 digital platform. The match is a re-run of their GLORY 21 SAN DIEGO meeting, a fight which resulted in a controvesial draw and saw Levin keep the belt despite losing a point for excessive clinching.

“I hope Simon gets the decision or wins by knockout. I don’t see a whole lot of…er….I honestly don’t know what to say…” Schilling sighs heavily and pauses.

“Really I think I will have my fight on the Superfight Series card and then I might leave… I am very disenchanted with the GLORY middleweight title at this point. I think that Artem Levin has devalued the belt due to turning down fights with me multiple times. I think that Simon is unquestionably the number one Muay Thai middleweight in the world, whereas I think Artem Levin is a guy who fights the guys he is comfortable against.

“When I won that GLORY 10 tournament in Los Angeles it meant a lot to me. I felt like it was pretty close to being the true top four guys in the world at that point. It was the closest thing to a K-1 World Grand Prix for the middleweights. I had a lot of value to me then and it still does when I look back at it. But when I look at Artem Levin’s title, I don’t see value to it.”

Ironically, Schilling did as much as anyone has ever done to help Levin’s exposure when he brought him in to work with Nick Diaz last year for Diaz’s fight with former UFC middleweight champion Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva.

“My job as a stand-up coach was to get the best looks possible for the Anderson Silva fight. Artem is tricky, unorthodox and the right size and weight. I wasn’t there, I didn’t hang out with him. I made sure I wasn’t around when he was working with Nick,” he says.

“I also brought in Chidi Njokuani, who gave Nick much better work. I used to have a lot of respect for him [Artem] then he kept ducking me, making up injuries, fighting tomato cans in Russia instead… I lost a lot of respect for him.”

Still, Schilling perks up considerably when talking about the Diaz brothers. They are good friends and often hang out together when not training. Nick and Schilling have made more than one sojourn to Las Vegas together for downtime and he also hangs out with Nate.

Schilling has just finished watching the pre-fight press conference for Nate Diaz’s fight with Conor McGregor at UFC 196. Diaz is stepping in on late notice to replace an injured Rafael dos Anjos, and so the fight is taking place at 170lbs.

“I think Nate is in his head already. Did you see how flustered he was when Nate threw that in about steroids? Ha!” laughs Schilling. I am not so sure; I suggest that Conor’s reaction was probably down to the steroids comment being unexpected and “coming from nowhere”.

He doesn’t see it. “Coming from nowhere? Dude it didn’t come from nowhere. Look at him, he’s put on about seventy pounds. Very interesting. His arms are f–king huge, look at him. But even if it did come out of nowhere it’s still good because Conor is used to getting in everybody’s head and Nate was like ‘nah, f–k you!’

“I will be putting money on Nate. I think what Nate’s weaknesses are, Conor is not good at. I think it’s a great fight for Nate. His size is too much for Conor and I think that Conor’s knockout power has a lot to do with him fighting smaller people. I think knocking out a 145er is a lot different to knocking out a guy who walks around at 185lbs and who has never been knocked out before with punches.

“On the ground Nate submits him quickly and easily and standing, his speed and the way he punches, the volume as well, he will pick him apart. Power-wise, I think Nate hits harder than Conor has ever been hit. I will be placing a large amount of money on Nate. I think it’s a great payday for Nate and it will be for me as well.

“Nate Diaz trains for fun. He might put on weight between fights but he runs five or six miles regularly, for or five days a week, he does sports for fun, constantly in the gym, constantly training and sparring. Is he in full fight-camp shape? No, but he is far from going to gas out in the first round believe me.”

Conversation turns to Schilling’s work with the legendary Royce Gracie, who stopped Ken Shamrock last week to score his first-ever win by knockout. Schilling says the credit should go to his coach at The Yard gym, Mark Komoro.

“Mark was in charge of the training. I worked with him regularly but my coach, the guy who made me, was responsible for Royce’s training. I think he did a phenomenal job – nobody in a million years thought he would win by KO,” he says.

“He had a great attitude, zero attitude, shook everyone’s hands every time he came into the gym. He is an avid hunter as well and he would always come in with things for the guys, jerky he had made himself, stuff like that. He was really cool. He was so delighted with his first knockout win, he called us right after.”

Schilling’s final comments are reserved for Denver middleweight kickboxer Dustin Jacoby, a UFC veteran who won an eight-man tournament to get into GLORY then sank in the deep waters of the elite European talent pool before fighting his way back up to currently ride a three-fight win streak into tonight’s tournament.

Jacoby has said several times he would like to fight Schilling, call-outs which have antagonised the Los Angeles man. This week the two got into some back and forth via social media, Jacoby accusing Schilling of having ducked him for tonight’s card when the fight was initially offered.

“No. No I am not interested in fighting Dustin Jacoby, because – and make sure you put this in – unlike the rest of these guys, I actually care about the opponent I fight and where they are at. I want to fight real opponents,” fumes Schilling.

“I don’t want to fight a guy who is a tomato can just because he called me out. You shouldn’t even be in the top ten, because you suck. You f–€”king suck. Why should I fight guys who suck just because they called me out?

“I also think it’s funny that he’s living at high altitude and he can’t understand why I wouldn’t take a fight on two weeks’ notice. If you’ve been calling me out then if I do agree to fight you, you’re getting the full training camp version of Joe Schilling, and I am going to smoke you like OG Kush. You little bi–”ch.

“So to answer your question no, I have no interest in fighting that f–”king dork.”

I start wrapping the interview up, but I’ve only said a couple of words before Schilling interrupts. His cage has been rattled.

“You know, I didn’t just get to name names and all of sudden I am somebody. I had to work my ass off. I had to take the hard fights. He wants to say I hand-picked my opponents? Yeah I really hand-picked the hardest opponents in the world didn’t I, motherf–ker?”

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John Joe O'Regan
John Joe O'Regan

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