File Photo: Sherdog.com
Jason Brilz knows how he’s going to spend the $65,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus he was awarded Saturday for his UFC 114 light heavyweight bout against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
He’s going to pay off some bills and then get “whatever else the wife wants.”
“I missed my 10-year wedding anniversary,” Brilz explained with a laugh during the Sherdog Radio Network’s Beatdown After the Bell program. “(The bonus) is probably going to go to a nice ring that she’s going to pick out.”
Brilz missed the anniversary because he was busy preparing as a late replacement to fight Nogueira. He filled in for an injured Forrest Griffin on roughly two and a half weeks’ notice and surprised many by pushing the No. 6-ranked Nogueira to a split decision. Brilz lost on the judges’ cards (29-28, 29-28, 28-29), but he has plenty of supporters who feel he should have been given the win, including Dana White. The UFC president called the decision “bulls--t” during interviews after the post-fight news conference.
Brilz doesn’t seem overly concerned with winning or losing, however.
“I fight to see how I matchup against people,” he said. “Wins and losses aren’t a big deal to me. I thought I went out there and performed well. I gave him everything I had. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I’m not upset. Sure, I’d have liked to win. Everybody likes to win. I think I went out there and I proved to people, but more importantly I proved to myself, that I can compete with the top dogs. That’s sort of what I’ve been aiming for my whole career.”
Brilz could be seen smiling at various points of the fight. Although some have speculated that his grin suggested his confidence that he had the match won, he said that wasn’t the case.
“I had no idea what the judges were thinking or anything like that,” Brilz said. “I can’t control any of that. All I control is my emotions, and I was having a blast. I’m in Las Vegas, fighting in the UFC, on the main card, against Nogueira, who I’ve been watching fight for 10 years. I’m just sort of sitting there going, ‘Are you serious? Is this really happening?’”
Not only was he fighting Nogueira, he was beating him in the eyes of many. He used a single-leg takedown to ground the Brazilian several times, and on the mat his grappling gave Nogueira fits. It wasn’t the result of studying footage either. Brilz said he’s not a proponent of film and instead was guided by a coach’s instruction to fight the position, not the man.
“I’ve never fought anybody of that caliber,” Brilz said. “I’ve never even trained with anybody of that caliber. I had no idea what to expect.”
His confidence grew as the fight wore on. He caught Nogueira in a deep guillotine during the second round and stunned him late in the period with right and left hands on the feet. It wasn’t enough to sway the judges, but Brilz certainly earned some respect from those who believed the bout had turned into a squash when he replaced the better known Griffin.
“A lot of people don’t give me credit for wins. ‘Oh, he doesn’t have the pedigree,’ or whatever, and (they say) I don’t have the training camp or the name,” Brilz said. “But what I do have is, I have a great training camp and I do have some heart and I do have some drive.”
After his showing against Nogueira, he also has a $65,000 bonus to help him make up with his wife.