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After taking first loss hard, Brendan Schaub looks to get back to winning

Former CU football player looks forward to having crowd behind him

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Justin M. Bowen

Brendan Schaub (left) and Roy Nelson fight during the main event of the Ultimate Fighter Championship Saturday night at the Palms. Nelson won the fight and the six-figure contract with the UFC.

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In Brendan Schaub's experience, the only problem with winning all the time is that whenever a loss finally does come, it's hard to know how to handle it.

That was the case for the young fighter in December, when he suffered the first loss of his professional career — a first-round knockout to Roy Nelson at the TUF 11 finale in Las Vegas.

"I'm not gonna lie, man; it was rough," Schaub said. "I've never lost anything before in terms of boxing, jiu-jitsu or mixed martial arts. Up to that point, I hadn't had to deal a lot with losing.

"Especially since Shane (Carwin, Schaub's training partner) is undefeated, too. Every time I've cornered him we've won, so I'm just not used to losing. It took me awhile to get over it."

Schaub (5-1) gets his first opportunity to get back to winning ways Sunday when he faces Chase Gormley (6-1) on the undercard of the UFC on VERSUS event in Broomfield, Colo.

The scenario couldn't have played out any better for Schaub, who played football at the University of Colorado and lives just 45 minutes away from 1stBank Center where the fight will be held — an arena he's already fought three professional fights in.

"It's a dream come true," Schaub said. "If you had told me I'd be fighting on a UFC show in Denver two years ago I would have called you a liar. The situation couldn't be any better, and I'm definitely looking forward to having the home crowd behind me."

Ever since making it all the way to the finals on the TUF reality series, Schaub says he's being recognized on a daily basis in his home state and is eager to turn the hype surrounding him into a legitimate climb up the heavyweight ladder.

Less than a week after his loss to Nelson, Schaub told his manager he was ready to get in the octagon again and keep his career moving.

"After I lost on Dec. 5, that following week my manager asked me when I wanted to get back in," Schaub said. "I told him, 'You tell Joe Silva and Dana White that as soon as they are willing to let me back in there, I want to be in there.'

"I would have felt the same way even if I would have beat Roy. I had almost six months off after fighting three times in about four weeks during TUF. I'm just ready. I love what I do so waiting around for a fight really wasn't my thing."

As a former NFL player, Schaub has heard the term "prospect" plenty before and knows that at 26 years old, that's exactly what he's become in his new sport.

He's certainly surrounded himself with the right people at an early stage in his career. In addition to Carwin, Schaub's training camp includes guys like Georges St. Pierre, Nate Marquardt and Rashad Evans. He'll have some of the most respected trainers in the sport in his corner Sunday with Greg Jackson, Trevor Wittman and Amal Easton.

Working with some of the highest talent in MMA is what eventually helped Schaub past the disappointment of the loss. He said it wasn't until getting back to work during a two-week long stay in Montreal at St. Pierre's gym that the loss started to feel like it was behind him.

"I've been able to stay confident just because of the guys I train with," Schaub said. "My confidence is a huge asset and it's definitely something I have to keep. The loss just shows me that I'm not invincible.

"It's MMA and we're wearing four-ounce gloves. Luckily, I've only been knocked out once in all my fights."

Despite remaining confident, Schaub's strategy in putting the first loss of his career in the past has been to never revisit it.

Typically a big proponent of watching film, Schaub hasn't watched a single second of his last fight and admits he might never do so.

"I'm a huge film guy; I break down tape all the time," Schaub said. "I have not watched that fight. My trainers and coaches have, but I have not even looked at it."

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected]. Also follow him on twitter: LVSunFighting.

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