Schilling Looks to Make Most of New MMA Run
After spending some time in Bellator Kickboxing, Joe Schilling makes his MMA return on Nov. 30 on the preliminary card of Bellator 210, facing Will Morris in a middleweight bout.
Schilling has been a standout in kickboxing over the last several years, competing in both GLORY and Bellator Kickboxing. “Stitch ‘Em Up” won a GLORY middleweight tournament in 2013 and was the runner-up in its 2014 Last Man Standing tournament. Schilling jumped to Bellator Kickboxing in mid-2016, not long after Bellator launched the side promotion. After initially losing his promotional debut, Schilling racked up four straight wins under the Bellator banner.
Schilling added his focus will now be on MMA.
“At this point in my career, I’m more committed to MMA. Kickboxing, I feel like I’ve gone as far as I can go, without being too cocky about it,” Schilling said. “There’s not too much more fans I can get, there’s not too much more money I can get [or] more promotion. I’ve been in the fight game since I was 15 years old, so what motivates me and keeps me going and working hard is the, ‘What’s next?’ MMA is next.
“I was on a four-fight win streak with Bellator Kickboxing and I decided to take some time off and really focus on MMA. I know people are sick of me saying I’m going to commit to both and focus on this, this time. I’m not going to say it this time. You’ll see it on Friday night. You’re going to see a big difference this time around.”
His previous stints in MMA have not been as successful as his kickboxing bouts. Schilling competed four times in 2008, going 1-3 including two losses in EliteXC and a loss in a regional promotion to future UFC interim lightweight champ Tony Ferguson.
Schilling tried his luck again when he signed an MMA deal with Bellator in 2014, while he was still with going. And while things started out hot with a huge win over Melvin Manhoef at Bellator 131 that earned him Knockout of the Year honors, Schilling could not follow up as well in losses to Rafael Carvalho and Hisaki Kato.
Schilling says he has been working with the likes of Donald Cerrone and Mickey Gall to work on his skills and prepare for a new beginning in MMA. And Schilling admits it was a humbling experience to hear he’s only competing on the prelims and not in a premier main card spot like he has previously with the promotion.
“I should be a completely different animal for this fight,” Schilling said. “I’m just really excited to show myself in this fight and the next one and the one after that and the one after that. Bellator’s given me the opportunity and given me the ball multiples times now and I’ve dropped the ball. I’m aware of that and I’m really 100 percent focused on this and really excited to show the difference.”
Bellator 210 takes place from the WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
Original Story: MMAJunkie