Respect, it’s a simple concept that all of us can understand. We all want to get respect for our hard work and be rewarded accordingly to our merits and achievements.
In the MMA world there is often a lot of respect for the people at the top, but there is an increasing amount of fighters who’ve achieved a lot but still lack the push they deserve to get their shot at the top. For one such fighter, Ryan Schultz, his upcoming bout at Sportfight 11 is all about getting respect and moving on to the upper echelon of the lightweight division.
On July 9th Schultz, a product of Team Quest, will be matched up with American Top Team standout Gesias “JZ” Calvancanti in a fight of two of the most highly regarded young lightweight fighters in the US. For Schultz however, the hype surrounding Calvancanti isn’t anything that impresses or intimidates Ryan.
“I don’t know much about him other than I’ve heard he’s pretty good and the next whatever, big thing or something,” Schultz told MMA Weekly. “To me he’s just like any other guy. I’m going to show up, do what I do and put him down.”
Calvancanti has received a lot of his attention for his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills coming out of the ATT. Schultz on the other hand is known for his relentless aggression, hard hitting, and patented Team Quest wrestling skills, which should make the fight extremely interesting if it goes to the ground.
When it comes to strategy, Schultz isn’t one to waste time getting fancy, “I think I’ll go in with just the basic same style as always, pound him hard until he’s out. I’m aware that he has good BJJ and for the most part I don’t mess around there anyway, but I do know those guys don’t like being thumped hard when they are on their back, and that’s what I do.”
Schultz continued, “If he wants to stand on his feet with me that’s fine. If I have to take him down I will, but I like to bang. He better expect to trade upstairs because he won’t take me down.”
This will be Schultz’ first fight since this past February in the USA versus The World edition of Euphoria, in which Ryan got back on winning track dominating Japan’s Hiroyuki Abe. According to Schultz he is looking forward to building off the momentum of the victory, “Since my last fight in Euphoria I’ve been training hard since and improving all the time. I feel I keep getting better and I’m looking forward to facing better competition in the future.”
Ryan had been scheduled to face off against Jorge Gurgel at an IFC event in Ohio for their Lightweight Championship, but the fight was called off because word has it that Gurgel became involved in the second season of the UFC and Spike TV’s The Ultimate Fighter reality series.
“I was looking forward to fighting him,” said Schultz. “Other things came up so the fight didn’t happen. I know he’s a tough fighter and (Gurgel’s Manager) Monte Cox spoke highly of him when we were at Euphoria. I was looking forward to a good challenge. He’s got a decent record and I’ve seen him fight and I think it could have been a good fight. Maybe we can make it happen sometime in the future.”
For Schultz it’s been a rewarding and frustrating time over the last year. While he continues to gain fan and media support as he racks up victory after impressive victory, he’s still been denied his shot against top 10 ranked opponents.
“Nobody in the big game wants to fight me and it’s frustrating,” exclaimed Ryan. “If they don’t want to fight me in a smaller show it’s fine, but they can’t keep avoiding me. I would love to fight Yves (Edwards), Rich (Clementi), or Hermes (Franca). I feel I’m a top fighter and I could beat those guys if I got the chance. I mean I respect them and understand why they don’t want the fight, they don’t want to take chances. Maybe they would want me in the UFC or Pride, I’m not sure, but they know I’m dangerous so maybe that’s why they’re not fighting me.”
Ryan knows if he wants to finally get his shot in the major MMA shows he’s got only one course of action right now, keep winning and make it so promotions can’t afford to not have him on their shows. “I’m going to KO this kid (Calvancanti) and go right down the line and earn my shot,” exclaimed Schultz. “There’s too much politics in fighting. I just want to fight and that’s just what I’m going to do, that’s what I’m in this sport for, to fight the best and become the best in the world.”