â€œEveryone knows when we are standing Iâ€™m going to try and knock your head into next week, thatâ€™s just how I am. Iâ€™m not going to pitty pat around, I want to hurt you.â€
Interview and Photos by: Barry Laminack
If you didn’t know who Adam Schindler was, you soon will. Â He’s a talented fight who’s stock is climbing in the MMA world. Â After several years in San Antonio, he finally made the move to Houston and didn’t waste any time getting a fight on the Strikeforce: Houston under-card. Â His last win was against another guy who’s stock is on the rise in Brian Melancon.
If you met Adam on the streets, and didn’t know he was an MMA fighter, you’d probably never guess it in a million years. He’s a clean cut, soft spoken, mid-western kid who seems more choir boy than fighter. Â But don’t be fooled, at 7-1 he’s not just a fighter, he’s a really good fighter and the scary part for his opponents; he’s only getting better.
I had a chance to sit down and chat with Adam after one of his cardio work outs. Â We talked about how he made his way to Houston and what the future holds for him.
TCD.net: Youâ€™re new to the Houston scene, so give us a little background about yourself.
Adam: I was born in small little river town, Charleston, WV and grew up in the mid Ohio Valley on the West Virginia side.Â I started wrestling at 6 years old (my dad had me on the mat as soon as I could walk really). I hated it at first and quit it my first year.
TCD.net: So was your dad a wrestler?
Adam: Yeah, my dad and his four brothers all wrestled.Â Two of his brothers were high school state champions, so if your last name was Schindler and you lived in Jackson County, West Virginia, you wrestled.
TCD.net: No choice huh?
Adam: No choice at all [laughs].
TCD.net: How did you make your way to Texas?
Adam: Well, I was going to wrestle in college but then I got into some trouble so I joined the military. It got me out of my trouble, but also brought me down here to San Antonio (when I was 19).
TCD.net: So youâ€™ve been here every since?
Adam: Yeah, Iâ€™ve been living in San Antonio since August of 2002.Â I didnâ€™t compete much while I was there at first, and I was really missing it. I was on traveling teams and on Team West Virginia growing up, I was an AAU national champion and a 2 time high school state champion so I was used to competing at an elite level.Â In the military, I was beating everyone at PT all the time and I wanted to do something more.
TCD.net: Did you know you wanted to compete in MMA or did it just happen?
Adam: Actually what happened was, I loved watching UFC, and I remember a fight were Roger Huerta had his back taken and was looking up at the big screen and elbowing the guy in the face. I looked at my girlfriend at the time and said, I could do that stuff; Iâ€™m a better wrestler than most of those guys.
So she said, â€œWell why donâ€™t you?â€
On Monday when I got to work, I had 5 emails in my inbox with gym information.Â All from her.
TCD.net: So were you the guy that walks in and says, â€œI want to fight UFC?â€
Adam: No, I didnâ€™t even want to fight. I thought I could do it, but I was real nervous walking in. I didnâ€™t know who anybody was and I hadnâ€™t wrestled competitively in 4 or 5 years. But, I was a good wrestler growing up, so it was like riding a back.
TCD.net: So what gym did you finally settle on and join?
Adam: Texas Power House.
TCD.net: So how did you end up here in Houston?
Adam: Well, Iâ€™ve been with Ragan [McDaniel] of B3 sports for 2 years. I was doing well at Texas Power House, but itâ€™s just that the scene in San Antonio is really small.Â I donâ€™t have anything to say bad about the guys at Texas Power House, we just didnâ€™t see eye to eye.Â I basically new I didnâ€™t want to fight out of any other gym in San Antonio, so Ragan said to come down here.
TCD.net: So have you settled on a home gym here?
Adam: Yeah Gracie Barra The Woodlands is my home gym now.Â I teach here and Iâ€™m good friends with Chad [Robichaux].Â Iâ€™m ranked under him now too. Iâ€™ll be representing Gracie Barra The Woodlands at Strikeforce.
TCD.net: Have you had a chance to cross train at any other gyms here in town?
Adam: Yeah, over at 4 ounce. I worked with Bobby â€œThe Generalâ€ Perez.Â Heâ€™s a really good guy. Daniel Pineda is a really good training partner too.
TCD.net: Daniel has good wrestling.Â Does he give you a run for your money on the mat?
Adam: Yeah, Daniel and I have really great rolls.Â Itâ€™s all over the place. Weâ€™re both real exciting on the ground and both 100 miles an hour strong wrestlers with good Jiu-Jitsu. Him and Todd [Moore] really push me wrestling wise (and take down wise). Jose Santibanez also, heâ€™s great.
TCD.net: Does the training with Bob Perez live up to the hype?
Adam: Bob is a great trainer. The first time I trained with him was maybe a week and half after I got back from Thailand, so I was in great shape.Â And I went and did an hour private with Bob and then Ragan was like, â€œOK, lets go spar now.â€
I was like â€œWHAT!?!â€
I was exhausted. Itâ€™s great technical work and Bob is the guy who really pushes you and makes you work hard. And like, youâ€™re not going to quite, not until he says, â€œOK Adam, youâ€™re doneâ€.Â I mean, with Bob and those 4oz. guys, Iâ€™ve had to leave the mats to go throw up.
You know, sometimes thatâ€™s what you have to do, go throw up and then get back out there.
TCD.net: Didnâ€™t you also go out and spend some time with Saul Solis?
Adam: Yeah, I spent some time with Saul as well, heâ€™s been helping me bring everything together.
TCD.net: Talk a little bit about the difference in talent level between Houston and San Antonio? Is it noticeable?
Adam: There are a lot more good guys here. In San Antonio, and nothing against any of the San Antonio fighters because they are great guys, but itâ€™s just bigger here and I feel itâ€™s taken more seriously here. I know friends that have seen both and they agree too.
There is more interest and more â€˜being about it than talking about itâ€™.
TCD.net: Talk about your fight with Brian Melancon.Â I think you opened some eyes and with it, especially here in Houston.Â Is he as strong as everyone says he is?
Adam: Brian is the strongest guy Iâ€™ve ever fought.Â I came into that fight in great shape, and I needed that because he was so big and strong.Â I think heâ€™s a beast.
TCD.net: What makes him so tough?
Adam: I think heâ€™s just so well rounded. Heâ€™s got tons of power, heâ€™s got good wrestling and heâ€™s really strong from start to finish and heâ€™s got a lot of heart.Â We dropped each other, but I dropped him first.Â When I did, I saw red and wanted to finish him, but I couldnâ€™t.Â He was rocked, but he was coming right back.Â Any time Iâ€™d hit him and hurt him, heâ€™d come right back.
TCD.net: Was it bitter sweet to see Brian beat such a highly level fighter like Todd Moore, who also happens to be your training partner?
Adam: Todd is known and has been for a long time. No matter what, Todd is one of the best and a win over someone like him is huge for anyone.Â It made my win look more legitimate, but I would never say it was sweet at all when a training partner and friend get beat.Â Obviously you donâ€™t want to see that, but it did make my win look better.
TCD.net: So what do you know about your upcoming Strikeforce: Houston opponent, Kierre Gooch?
Adam: I donâ€™t know a whole lot about him. Iâ€™ve heard heâ€™s really strong.Â Daniel [Pineda] said he was really really strong. Iâ€™ve heard heâ€™s a good wrestler too.
TCD.net: Do you have a game plan for him yet?
Adam: I think my game plan is always pretty much the same.Â Iâ€™m pretty good at free styling and I feel like Iâ€™m good everywhere. I feel like I beat just about anyone, so it doesnâ€™t really matter to me.Â Everyone knows when we are standing Iâ€™m going to try and knock your head into next week, thatâ€™s just how I am. Iâ€™m not going to pitty pat around, I want to hurt you.
TCD.net: You are so calm and so nice outside of the cage; how do you flip that switch where you become that killer in the cage?
Adam: Fear.Â I love competing and I like being the center of attention.Â Itâ€™s so fun to me and Iâ€™ve been doing it for so long in wrestling.Â Now if I think youâ€™re trying to hurt me, thatâ€™s when it comes out.Â Kill or be killed. I donâ€™t know how that is engraved into some people and not into others.Â My dad used to call me â€œCasper the friendly wrestlerâ€ because I would make friends with everyone, but then when Iâ€™d flip that switch, he would say you could see red in my eyes.
TCD.net: So when do you flip that switch? When you touch gloves, when the bell rings, when you get punched?
Adam: No, I donâ€™t need to be hit. Itâ€™s just getting ready and going.Â Iâ€™ve been that way for ever. I used to get in fights in wrestling practice. I was bad as a kid. If I got scored on, Iâ€™d cheap shot you. I donâ€™t do that anymore and I never would again.
TCD.net: You just recently got your brown belt under Chad Robo.Â Talk about what that felt like?
Adam: It was a great honor. I was really surprised and excited. It was an honor to get it and to be thought of in that light by Chad and Todd and guys at that level that are known, world class black belt fighters.Â For them to think that I am on a brown belt level because I train with them, itâ€™s a real honor for me.
TCD.net: So are you going to keep going and get your black belt?
Adam: Yeah, I want my black belt. Iâ€˜ve only been doing Gi Jiu-Jitsu for 3 years, so Iâ€™ve picked it up kind of quick.
TCD.net: Talk about the importance of having a base like wrestling.
Adam: Having a wrestling base means everything to me. I think itâ€™s a lot easier to teach a wrestler to box than a boxer to wrestle.Â Even as a kid, I didnâ€™t know how to technically box, but I could hit you; not everyone knows how to take somebody down.Â So having that engraved into you as a child is a lot different for a guy whoâ€™s been doing it since he was 6 years old, rather than somebody whoâ€™s been doing it for a couple of years.
TCD.net: After Strikeforce, whatâ€™s next for Adam Schindler?
Adam: The goal is the UFC.Â Thatâ€™s always been my goal. I think the best guys are there, as well as in Strikeforce, WEC and Bellator.Â There are great guys all across the board. I want to be in the UFC for the notoriety, for the gym, for me, for a career.
TCD.net: So whatâ€™s the path or plan to get there?
Adam: Well, itâ€™s always one fight at a time.Â Â You have to win, it doesnâ€™t matter who you face, youâ€™re still in a fist fight.Â It doesnâ€™t matter if you are fighting your little sister, she can knock you out.Â You have to take it one fight at a time, but I feel like I have developed my game well enough and that Iâ€™m training hard enough and smart enough now.
My last loss was at King of Kombat, and I had a 4 day party weekend before that fight; so you have to live right outside of the gym as well.Â Iâ€™m leaving it to Ragan, heâ€™s the manager and heâ€™ll know whatâ€™s best for me.
Iâ€™m going to go out and train. Iâ€™m exciting and I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve ever been in a boring fight.Â I feel like Iâ€™m talented enough and I feel like Iâ€™m ready.
TCD.net: Anybody you want to thank?
Adam: I want to thank Ragan at B3 Sports. I want to thank Chad Robo, Todd Moore and everyone here at Gracie Barra and you guys at TheCageDoor.net.