Ryan Schultz’s career didn’t end with the demise of the IFL, on the contrary it seems like Ryan is continuing on his upward climb as he returns to Sengoku to face Jorge Masvidal. Ryan is coming off a loss to Mizuto Hirota in the first round of the Sengoku Lightweight Grand Prix while Masvidal is coming off a loss to Rodrigo Damm. Now these two fight for a reserve or alternate spot in the GP. In the archives are several updates with Ryan who fights out of Team Quest.
KM: What do you know about Jorge Masvidal and what do you think about fighting him?
RS: I know we are both coming off losses so I’m excited to get back in there and show my skills. I know a little bit about him. He is well-rounded and a tough guy. He strikes me as confident but I don’t really care about his attitude.
KM: Can you describe your last fight, the KO loss to Mizuto Hirota?
RS: I wasn’t following up my game. I did some good things but it wasn’t my best performance. I take my hat off to him, he is a tough guy. I think he can win the whole tournament. I didn’t fight to my potential for that fight. I really don’t know what happened, I wasn’t there that night. I would do a couple good things and pull back. I felt I won the first round but he caught me with a good shot.
RS: It was great. They are a good organization and took care of us really well. It was great fun. Obviously I’m a little disappointed in my performance but that is how it goes. I was on a good streak and sometimes you have to get set back to get better. It is kind of humbling.
RS: I know they have Gomi and some legit fighters. They came up to me with a good offer and as far as I know they are a strong organization. They plan on being around for a while so it is good for me. I don’t know who everybody is to be honest.
RS: There are a lot of good guys there. I think the guy who beat me, Mizuto Hirota, might win it. I’m kind of pushing for him unless I’m able to get back into it. It is MMA, anything can happen.
KM: What are your thoughts on the Dream tournament earlier this year?
RS: There were a lot of tough guys in that tournament and I’d like to fight every one of them. I think Alvarez was doing really well, had a war against Kawajiri. I’d like to fight those guys but right now I’m signed to Sengoku and like I said Sengoku have Gomi, one of the best fighters in the world. I’d love a shot at him.
KM: With Japan being the home of the tournaments and many ranked Lightweights how does it feel to fight there?
RS: It is great. I fought in Japan before and they are more quiet but they understand the game a little more. They really prize the warrior spirit. They aren’t as much about wins and losses, they really respect the spirit inside. I like fighting in the United States as well, I’m a proud American so I love my crowd as well, but right now it seems the best move for me in my career was to go with them. I’m going to go over there and do my thing and probably come back to the States when my contract is up. We’ll see what happens.
RS: I signed a five-fight deal over seventeen months. For me the stability is great. Also the fact there is a good chance I’ll make a big name and come back worth more than when I left.
KM: You won the IFL belt and defended it twice before they went under. What was it like to be the champion at that point?
RS: I was happy, proud to be the champion and I’d go on defending it forever but business is business and things happen. I can’t control that. The IFL did great things for me and great things for most of the guys. It was very well televised, got people’s names on TV. I don’t think other organizations realize how tough the guys in the IFL were. There were a lot of good fighters and I guarantee they are going to make splashes in other organizations. A lot of them have been picked up and I think you should watch for them because they are going to do great things.
KM: Most fighters have said the IFL handled their closing well, that they helped fighters get into other shows. Can you describe what that transition was like?
RS: IFL were taking care of me well and I have no ill will to them at all. As far as them going under it was sad to see but it is business. I think they did the best they could with what they had and they showed respect to the fighters. It is a tough business. UFC have the market really nailed down. There is room for other organizations and I hope Affliction makes it. It is better for the fighter, better for the sport. UFC is one organization; they can’t hold all the great fighters there. They are trying and doing a great job but there are so many great fighters out there.
KM: Did the end of IFL or the transition to the bargaining table present any challenges?
RS: I wasn’t worried because I went out on top; I figured I’d do fine. I fought in May which wasn’t that long ago and August was when I was supposed to fight again anyway. For me nothing really changed. I was relieved as soon as I heard there were offers coming in. As soon as I heard there were offers coming in and people were interested in me I knew I was alright.
KM: With Matt Horwich and Chris Wilson in the UFC is there any sense of jealousy or regret?
RS: For me? No. I was offered a four-fight deal by the UFC. I chose to go to Sengoku. I’m not done with them. They are going to take their opportunities and do what they want to do; I’m going to do what I want to do. Don’t get me wrong, I like the UFC and think they are great but at this moment in my career and having a family Sengoku offered me a better deal. I don’t want it to sound like ‘I turned down the UFC’, that is not what I’m saying. I’m saying there were a few different offers on the table and Sengoku seemed to want me the most. It is a deal that is not that long for a career. I have a family to look out for and my contract could have been torn up if that (last fight) was a UFC fight. Sengoku was safer for me right now, more of a guarantee.
KM: Money, security, appreciation, competition…what means the most to you?
RS: One of the big reasons I signed there is because I like fighting in Japan. I think they understand the game real well. Also because they have Gomi and I want to get a shot at him. There are a lot of good fighters in the States right now but to get a chance to get my hands on Gomi, that would up my stock. And financially they were willing to take care of me for the next seventeen to eighteen months. That is why I signed with them.
RS: Just keep watching because without the fans there is no sport. Keep watching and I’ll try to put on a show.