December 16, 2010 Posted by danb
Interview with ammy fighter, Matt Schanz.
For part 15 of our interview series with amateur MMA fighters, coaches and trainers we spoke with Matthew Schanz about becoming a fighter and what it takes to make it to the big time.
Thanks for speaking with us. What is your current record? Any fights coming up soon?
I have a 2-2 record I first fought for MMA Bigshow with a second round TKO and most recently have fought for Metro Mayhem. My last fight was for the 185 title last December which I lost by leg lock after winning the round. Currently I do not have a fight lined up due to injuries but am looking forward to getting back in the cage next year.
Mixed Martial Arts is clearly not for everyone. At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to become a competitive Mixed Martial Artist?
I wrestled in high school and have always been attracted to individual sports more than team sports. My feeling is that in individual combat sports, there is never anyone else to blame or take the glory besides me. I started training when I was 23 and had my first fight when I was 27. I did it because I’ve felt like I had something to prove, either to myself or others, and MMA is the purest way to accomplish it.
Have there been any challenges in your life that you’ve had to overcome in order to get where you are today? If so, how did you overcome them?
I have been on my own since I was 16 and everything I have achieved in my life has been due to my dedication and hard work. I had nothing to fall back on if I failed so I knew I had to work hard and never give up if I ever wanted to accomplish anything in my life. I’ve over come substance abuse and a hard childhood, but now I have a beautiful wife, a home, a career as a chef, and I am currently attending school to get my Bachelor’s in nursing; and I did it all on my own.
Is there a current MMA star you like to pattern yourself after?
I think GSP is someone I want to emulate, he is always respectful to everyone and has a work ethic second to none.
Where do you train? Care to make a shout out to any of your instructors or training partners?
I currently train out of Eagle and Dragon Martial Arts Academy in Belleville, IL and St. Louis Training Circle in St. Louis, MO.
Has your fighting style evolved since you began training or have you stuck with a specific style throughout?
I have a wrestling background but I was never great at it. I’ve found Ju Jit Su to probably be my strongest area, but I strive to be well rounded as possible. I have good kickboxing and I am always trying to improve all aspects of my game.
Is there any particular training you spend more time on? Cardio? Strength training?
I always weight train and feel that the best cardio comes from sparring and training live just like you would in the cage.
The mental aspects of MMA training are often overlooked. What you do to prepare mentally?
I actually get very calm before I fight, nothing else matters. I go over scenarios in my head over and over and visualize it thousands of time before ever stepping in to cage. I think remaining calm and focused is the most important part of fighting.
Is there anyone you would like to thank for helping you get to where you are?
My wife and her family have been the greatest influence on me and have always supported me fully. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without their love and support.
What advice would you give to other people looking to get into MMA, or any competitive sport, for that matter?
Good enough never is, always push yourself to better. You’ll be surprised just how much you can accomplish.