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‘They ruined him’ - Brendan Schaub discusses how UFC treated former top prospect

Former UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub warned fighters not to go up against the UFC.

Brendan Schaub on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen - Season 15
Brendan Schaub on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen - Season 15
Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Since leaving the UFC in 2014 Brendan Schaub has become a popular podcaster and MMA opinionator whose good for a hot take on whatever the topic of the day is. Prior to this Schaub was a decent prospect in the Octagon.

He made his way into the UFC via The Ultimate Fighter. He was a runner-up in that series’ tenth season, losing to Roy Nelson in the finale. After that hiccup, which was his first pro loss, Schaub put together four straight wins including notable victories over Gabriel Gonzaga and Mirko Cro Cop.

However, the former NFL player’s stock in the UFC crashed with back-to-back KO losses to Minotauro Nogueira and Ben Rothwell. Recently, on his podcast, Schaub discussed the career trajectory of another former UFC prospect; Roger Huerta.

Schaub used Huerta as case study for why young fighters should think twice about trying to dictate terms with the UFC.

“But remember he got too big for his britches and tried bailing out the UFC, you remember what happened to him?” said Schaub, referring to Huerta [ht sportskeeda]. “They said, ‘Very cool dude, so remember your main-eventing Fight Nights and we’re putting you on pay-per-views and stuff? Now what we’re going to do is we’re going to shelf you.”

“You want to fight out your last two fights?... You’re going to go test free agency? Well, that’s going to hurt our brand,” continued Schaub. “So what we’re going to do is, you’re on a rocket ship and we’re going to pull the fuel from that. We’re going to bench you so that you’re not relevant. When you do fight. We’re going to give you the worst possible match-up, good luck’... They ruined him.”

Huerta debuted in the UFC with a Fight of the Night win over Jason Dent in 2006. He followed that up with a 19 second TKO over John Halverson and then a decision win over Leonard Garcia (again earning Fight of the Night honours).

Shortly after that fight Huerta was featured on the front cover of Sports Illustrated. He was the first mixed martial artist to ever grace the cover of that storied publication. Huerta’s cover-boy status would be referenced continuously on UFC broadcasts in 2007. That year he picked up TKO wins over Doug Evans and Alberto Crane and a submission over Clay Guida in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale.

The Guida win would win Fight of the Year. It also saw Huerta tie the record of most UFC wins in a calendar year (5). As the year ticked over to 2008 the 20-1-1 (1 NC) Huerta was one of the hottest stars in the sport.

And that’s when things started to fall apart. After eight months on the sidelines Huerta returned to action with a loss to Kenny Florian. After that defeat Huerta said he was going on an indefinite hiatus from the sport to focus on acting opportunities. He would eventually return over a year later to take a split decision loss to Gray Maynard.

Huerta and the UFC parted ways shortly after. Since then Huerta has gone 4-10 with appearances in Bellator and ONE Championship. His most recent fight was a TKO loss to Chris Gonzalez at Bellator 255 last April. He was released from Bellator later that month.