There’s a compelling episode of the hit HBO series “The Sopranos” titled “The Happy Wanderer” in which lead character Tony Soprano visits his therapist and complains about the people that “always walk around with a clear head” while he’s mired in depression and anger at every turn.
He labels these people “happy wanderers” and Tony is resentful that they can be so care free while he can only be surrounded by anger and rage, 24 hours a day.
In the world of mixed martial arts, it would be safe to say Tony Soprano would be pretty resentful of UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub.
The former Ultimate Fighter cast member is one of those people you rarely see without a smile on their face, enjoying life to the fullest.
Now to the casual observer, Schaub is supposed to have a steely grimace on his mug because he’s lost two fights in a row in the UFC, and a third could mean any number of things, including an exit from the promotion. That’s just not what Schaub is all about, and he refuses to become the disgruntled, angry person just because life is throwing him a few obstacles.
Besides the two losses, Schaub found himself stuck in a bit of a rut when it came to training at home in Denver, so instead of waiting until the wheels fell off the car, he decided to move, lock, stock and barrel to the sunny skies of California.
“I was born and raised in Denver, went to school there, went to college there, and I’ve been on the same team for seven years, and I kind of found myself going through the motions a little bit. My dad noticed it the most and he was like, ‘I think you need a change,’ and I was coming out to California all the time anyways. I would fly back and forth, and decided to go out there and make the move and try to grow as a fighter,” said Schaub recently when speaking with MMAWeekly.com.
While he will always love Denver and still goes there to train for every fight, Schaub now wakes up to the sound of waves crashing near his house, and bright sunlight greeting him as each training session starts.
Take for instance his daily routine after moving to Los Angeles from Denver.
“I’m near the beach and I’m definitely a beach bum, for me going to training and then going to the beach is kind of an escape for me to get away from everything and relax. It’s really done wonders for me,” Schaub said.
“I leave my house at 6 or 7 a.m., I go to the beach, I do a workout on the beach and I swim for cardio, and then I go to the Beverly Hills Gracie Academy, and back to the beach. Then I’ll drive to the O.C. (Orange County) and train with Mark Munoz and the team at Reign. It’s a good life. I leave at 6 a.m. and I don’t get home sometimes till 12 o’clock at night.”
It’s a life of positive influences according to Schaub, who refuses to let anything get him down, even when his most recent fight fell apart when his opponent Lavar Johnson suffered an injury, scrapping their bout from UFC on Fox 5.
Of course Schaub was disappointed, but within about 10 minutes he was back to his normal, upbeat self telling fans via Twitter that he was still excited to go to Seattle and act as a guest fighter for the week.
“For me I just stay positive; it’s part of the game. I’ve been competing all my life. The most successful people in the world when they do have a setback they don’t look back, the just move forward. For me that’s the plan,” Schaub stated.
It’s not only Schaub’s philosophy on fighting, it’s also part of the rules when he allows people to be a part of his life.
Over the last couple of years, Schaub has become close friends with New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, and if there’s one guy in sports that could easily fall into a depression with the amount of negative press written or spoken about him, it’s definitely Tebow.
But you won’t find that kind of reaction whenever Tebow is on camera or has a microphone in front of his face. Tebow is all smiles, cordial as a kid when his grandmother is around, and never has a bad word to say about anybody.
Tebow’s influence is rubbing off on Schaub in a big way.
“He’s a very good friend, been a good friend for a couple of years now, and me and him workout a lot together and text and call each other all the time. He’s a very positive guy, very similar to me. You are who you surround yourself with and me and Tim are kind of the same in terms of work ethic and the way we go about life,” Schaub said.
“I surround myself with guys who are pretty successful, good people, and I think the two biggest influences in my life lately have been Tim Tebow and Ryron Gracie. Ryron’s a positive guy, and Tim’s super positive. For me being around that, it just shows me I’m on the right track.”
The right track has led Schaub to his status as the UFC’s official happy wanderer, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.