Darrill Schoonover comes into his Maximum Fighting Championship heavyweight title fight in great shape, focused and ready to take Anthony Hamilton’s belt. It will go down in the main event next Friday night January 17th at MFC 39: No Remorse. Hamilton added some heat to this matchup by calling out Schoonover, who is fired up for this fight. He took some time out of his schedule to talk about his upcoming bout, his opponent and some thoughts on winning and losing. If you weren’t already excited about this title fight you will be after reading this interview. Here is Darrill Schoonover in his own words.
“I’m pretty sure Anthony Hamilton is taking me pretty lightly. He’s the one who called me out. I don’t care what he says or not. The promoters are the ones who got a hold of me and said he specifically asked for me by name, and the name that Rampage gave me. So, that gives me motivation like no other to go in there and try to hurt him. It pissed me the fuck off. So, yeah let’s go do it.”
Schoonover is not one to let the emotion control him but instead he uses it. “Honestly I fight better when I am angry. I still think, I’m not a reckless fighter by any means. It can help me focus and it gives me more added motivation and intentions…Right now I am getting ready, thinking about it everyday, focusing…I am thinking about Anthony Hamilton everyday of the week.”
He also had a lot of time to think about him and this fight over the holidays while most of the world was celebrating Schoonover was sacrificing. “I haven’t been drinking or anything for a good two months now. So, I am ready….I was telling my girlfriend and friends, Anthony Hamilton better be fucking ready because I pretty much missed the holidays. I didn’t get a good Thanksgiving, I didn’t get a good Christmas, I didn’t get a good New Years Eve.”
His thoughts on whether or not Hamilton will try to stand with him were pretty direct and reflects his mindset for this fight and how he expects it to go.
“I’ll tell you this much, it’s gonna be a war. It’s gonna be a long match. I’m not going to let him finish me in the first or second round. I’m going to take it into deep water and make it a battle of attrition, a battle of will, of who wants, and I never quit. I’ve never quit in a fight…Honestly, everybody’s telling me that he’s gonna stand and fight with me. I seriously doubt that. As soon as I start hitting him he’s gonna go for the takedown. Since I found out he’s been at Greg Jackson’s I guarantee he’s going to go for the takedown. Greg Jackson, being my coach on The Ultimate Fighter, they all know what kind of hands I have. I have stood there with the best. I consider Paul Buentello to be one of the best strikers in the world. If I can stand there toe-to-toe with him I’m not too worried about Anthony Hamilton.”
Schoonover comes into this fight on a four-fight win streak. His career has been one of streaks. He started out 10-0, then after his loss on TUF he dropped the next five before embarking on his current win streak. He talks about winning, losing and where he is now.
“I don’t care what people say, they say winning isn’t everything, but winning is everything. Losing sucks. You don’t want to lose. You want to be a winner all of the time. It’s more addicting than anything. You can’t match it. There’s nothing more addicting than going in there and winning in front of everybody, your friends, your family on national television”
“With all those losses that I had I finally said fuck it. I’m not going to take fights on short notice anymore or when I’m injured. Now don’t get me wrong injuries are always around. You never go into a fight one hundred percent. The reason I’ve comeback with those four wins in a row is simply because I’ve concentrated, I’ve taken my time. I don’t take fights out of nowhere anymore. I fought Estevan Jones on three days notice. Still, to this day I think I won that damn fight. I dropped him three or four times.”
He attributes the losses to helping him become mentally stronger.
“It was the losing. It was those losses man. I lost a few in a row. I just knew I had to do something about it and I wasn’t going to quit. Everybody was telling me, ‘Hey you should just pack it up and let it go.’ You know I’ve never been a quitter. I’ve never quit anything in my life…There is nothing that is going to come in front of me that is going to cause me to quit. I would rather die than quit. That is a factor in me that sets me apart. The will is the thing that separates you from other fighters. Some fighters are so athletic and strong. Everything is perfect on them but they get caught in a bad position and quit rather than risk permanent injury. You can’t blame them, but I won’t quit. I’m going to fight until the bitter end.”
“That’s what people don’t understand, I had never lost a fight. I had never lost a street fight even if I got jumped. I never lose. When I lost on the show it hit me hard. It took a lot out of me. One of the things that always stuck with me was something my Uncle who got me started in the sport told me, ‘You will know what type of fighter you are when you get your fucking ass kicked and comeback strong.’ It took awhile for me but I did comeback stronger.”
Part of that mentality comes from his military background. He enter right out of high school and he took to it naturally. “The Army was great for me. I loved active duty. It really helped me a lot. I love the camaraderie. You are with those guys all the time. It teaches you a never quit attitude, and just going in there you have to get it done. It will always be apart of me. I will always have that loyalty and camaraderie with my old battle buddies.”
He also has that same loyalty for his team the Red Spider Academy. It is not a coincidence that his current win streak started with his joining with them. He now trains himself with some help from his TUF wrestling coach Mike Van Arsdale, who will come down and give him seminars, and using many of the lessons that his first MMA coach Jason Shaffer taught him. He also coaches four professional fighters himself and works with his brother Phillip, who is currently focusing on boxing and is looking to turn pro this year. Darrill works with a lot of children as well at the Red Spider Academy. Coaching is something he sees as a future. “I would like to (coach), I’ve got three to five years in me. After that I’m going to focus completely on coaching.”
At the moment though Schoonover is focused on this fight. “Right now I’m getting ready, thinking about it everyday, focusing. I’ve already ran a bunch of different scenarios though my head over and over. Hopefully, one of those pan out. You know how the fight game is, it never goes how you want it to go. One of the key things in fighting is being mentally strong. Some people do not want to think about it but you have to think about it.” He has a strong support team with his family, teammates, and his girlfriend Sandra Escobar who has always been there to pick him up for the last six years.
He is ready for this title fight and a few words about MFC and Anthony Hamilton.
“I’m excited to be fighting for MFC. I’m glad they gave me the opportunity to go in there and prove something. One of the biggest problems for me is when I was on the losing streak everyone was calling me out. Everybody was trying to get a win off of me, make a name off of me. Once I started winning people stopped calling and it was harder to get fights. I am glad they gave me the opportunity.”
“Anthony Hamilton has a pretty good record and a pretty one. I use to have one of them. If you look at my wins I’ve had good fights with guys with good records. Anthony Hamilton has only fought two fighters with good records and he lost to both of them. That is the beauty of being at a camp like Greg Jackson’s they are going to pad your record, propping you up. A lot of his fights are were with guys who were 0-3, 0-4. Once we are in there and I stand right in front of him and he hits me with his best shot, and I’m still there and I keep coming forward – we’ll see if he wants to keep going.”
This is the type of main event that MFC puts on and is one of the reasons they are the second longest promotion in MMA today. Hamilton is coming off one of the KOs of the year in 2013 and riding a five-fight win streak. Schoonover is bringing his own four-fight winning streak, which includes his win over Paul Buentello, and looking to make a statement in 2014. He is focused and ready to showcase the hard work he has put in. One thing for sure is there will be fireworks in this one as Darrill is definitely ready to bring the fight to Hamilton and walk out of the ring with the heavyweight belt. It all goes down on Friday night January 17th, 2014, and here in the States you will find it on AXS TV.
Darrill would like to thank his coaches and teammates at Red Spider Academy, his brother Phillip, his girlfriend Sandra and his sponsors who have supported him on his journey to capture his sixth professional title. You can follow him on Twitter @D_SchoonoverMMA.