Andrei Arlovski emerged with a victory against Brendan Schaub in his return to the Octagon on Saturday night at UFC 174, but it was far from a triumphant return for the former heavyweight champion.
“Honestly, I felt and I still feel really horrible,” Arlovski said post-fight. “I’m glad Dana White isn’t here because he’s probably so pissed at me.
“He gave me a great opportunity, and I didn’t like my performance, my fight, tonight.”
Arlovski was right, White was less than enamored with his performance, describing him in a separate interview as “slow” and “soft”, while also rueing the fact that he put this fight on the card as opposed to the prelims.
According to Arlovski, who fought for the likes of Strikeforce, Elite XC, WSOF and Affliction during his six year spell away from the UFC, it was nerves that got the better of him on the night.
“For some reason, I was nervous a lot,” he told reporters. “Before the fight when I stepped in the octagon, my legs and hands shook for some reason. I was just nervous. It was like the first time I fought 14 years ago.
“My plan was to knock him out, and it was left up to the judges. But like I said, I wasn’t happy with my performance tonight.
“Next time, I promise I’ll do much better.”
As for Schaub, he was convinced that he had done enough to win the fight and questioned post-fight whether the judges had been swayed by ‘The Pit Bull’s’ star power and the fact the crowd were cheering for him.
Schaub had also been freely admitting in the days leading up to the fight that he was battling with his nerves and they appeared to take their toll in the Octagon, though he was more active than Arlovski offensively and clearly won the third round thanks to a long spell in top control.
However, he didn’t escape White’s wrath as he didn’t feel that either fighter did anything of merit in the first two rounds and claimed that the real loser wasn’t Arlovski or Schaub, but rather the fans who had to sit through a “horrible” fight.
If there was a silver lining for Schaub on the night it was that fears that he had broken his jaw in the final round were proven to be unfounded and he was given a clean bill of health by doctor’s after a post-event visit to the hospital.