Now on a three-fight win streak following UFC Wichita, Matt Schnell is ready to start fighting more and amassing a fan base.
Wichita, Kansas — Bantamweight, flyweight. Matt Schnell is certain he can succeed anywhere. He said as much post-fight at UFC Wichita, during his interview with UFC play-by-play man Jon Anik. And Schnell’s confidence has a solid foundation, as he’s now on a three-fight win streak after what can only be considered an upset win against Louis Smolka in Wichita, Kansas.
“I’m feeling great. Like I’ve said before, Louis is a guy I’ve looked up to,” he said during Saturday’s bout on the preliminary card. It was his return to bantamweight, but he feels he can compete just about anywhere. Against anyone. “I know he’s younger than me, but he’s been in the UFC for a long time and I’ve been watching his career unfold for a long time. I’m happy to get the match-up and I’m happy to get the win. It was difficult, there was a mental block there for a second, I didn’t know if I could win in the UFC. Now I’ve piled up multiple wins, I got my first finish. I’m telling you, I can do this with anybody. 125, 135, 145. Let’s go. Not really 145 [laughs].”
“I can win everywhere. That’s the thing,” he added. “My skillset, I’ve worked my entire career to build a complete skillset. We’re still filling in the gaps, we’ve got a few things to work on obviously. I’ve got great coaches, I’ve got great people around me. I travel and I look around and I tell my coach I like to microdose humility throughout my training camps just to keep myself sharp.”
“Every day I stand in front of guys who are amateurs who batter me and I have to go home and think about my life choices, so shout out to those guys and all those kids who push me,” he continued. It’s not often to hear a fighter bluntly admit that an amateur pushes them. But it is refreshing. “They’re not at the stage I am, but they still push me every day and it reminds me, any given day, somebody can whip me.”
“You’ve got to come out here and prove it to yourself every once in a while,” he said of his mindset. “I still struggle, I couldn’t sleep last night, I still struggle. It doesn’t matter though. Fifteen minutes, you’ve got to put it together. Everybody deals with it, we’re all worried, we’re all concerned. Sometimes we all lose a little sleep. But bam, here I am, I’m proof that you can do this.”
Calling himself an average guy, he added that “I like to push that narrative because everyone likes to pretend that they’re different than everyone. I rode the bench my entire athletic career. I played sports and tried my hardest and gave maximum effort. It wasn’t until I found martial arts that I realized that effort actually matters. So, here we are.”
As for his motivation, “I’ve got a family now: a wife and two cats. I want to provide for them.” We’re not sure how seriously to take the two cats part. Cats pretty much fend for themselves outside the basics, no? Still, Schnell is clear in saying that “there’s a lot more on the line than there used to be. I’m just trying to come out here every day and do my part and persist. Take the good, take the bad and keep it rolling.”
As to what comes next, Matt Schnell is one of those fighters wiling to take whoever is offered. “I think they know where I stand. I have a very good relationship with Mick Maynard and he knows where I stand on this. I’m going to take the fights that are offered to me. You give me eight weeks’ notice, it doesn’t matter who’s on that contract, I’m going to accept it because I believe with my team that we can put together a game plan and I have the ability to beat anyone. Any man on two legs can get this work.”
“I would like to fight twice more before the year’s end,” he stated. “I would like three fights in 2019. I don’t think that’s asking too much. I fought once last year. I get it. When you stumble out of the blocks, this is a hierarchy. I’ve said this before. You don’t get to call your shots when you’re 1-2 or 2-2 in the UFC. But I’ve won three in a row. I moved up to bantamweight and just took out a very tough competitor. Let’s get this thing going.”
Another way to look at it, “I’m an exciting guy. Let me get my feet underneath me. Let me get some traction in this thing. I can amass a fanbase. I speak well. I can fight. Punching, kicking, wrestling, I can do it all.”