Patrick “Big Swiss” Schmid’s ONE Championship debut was a real bolt from the blue, but it has made him hungrier to show the global fan base what he is truly capable of.
The heavyweight’s kickboxing bout with Rade Opacic was originally scheduled for “ONE on TNT I” in April, but the Serbian was forced to withdraw from the contest at late notice. And now, they will open the show at ONE: FIRST STRIKE on Friday, 15 October.
Despite his rival’s withdrawal, Schmid still competed at “ONE on TNT I.” But instead of kickboxing, he made his pro mixed martial arts debut against “Reug Reug” Oumar Kane after the Senegalese wrestling sensation’s opponent also had to pull out the day before the event.
The sudden change of sport was unexpected, and though he suffered a first-round TKO loss, the Swiss striker showed true warrior spirit by stepping up to the plate.
“The fight with ‘Reug Reug’ was not necessary, but I figured I was already in Singapore. So if I have the chance to fight, I will take it,” Schmid says.
“Too bad he wouldn’t agree to come over to my sport, as he probably had more training in stand-up than I did in anything related to wrestling or the ground game.
“But it did add fuel to the fire, meaning that I do feel I have something to prove in my ‘proper’ debut.”
Schmid gets the chance to showcase his true skill set on 15 October, and with an extra six months to prepare for Opacic, he feels like he is in a better place to do that.
“I have never been as unfit as I was when I first signed with ONE. So I believe the longer it takes for the fight to take place, the better I will be, whereas Rade was already on a roll and in a good place last year,” he adds.
The heavyweight kickboxing clash has plenty of promise. Schmid feels primed and ready to go, and his rival from Belgrade is also eager to get back to business and continue his momentum.
“Big Swiss” kept a close eye on Opacic’s early run in ONE Super Series and knows that the Serbian is a worthy adversary because of the men he has beaten so far.
Ultimately, though, he is unfazed by his foe’s back-to-back knockout victories.
“I beat [Errol] Zimmerman by decision in 2018. I know [Rade] knocked him out [too], but I feel like Zimmerman was fitter when I fought him,” he says.
“I’m not sure that Rade was winning on points when he knocked him out either. I felt Zimmerman’s plan was working well.
“I also know Bruno [Susano] from competing at Superkombat, and he is a strong fighter who can take a punch because I have seen him take hard punches before, so [Rade] must be powerful.”
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Schmid knows there will be some puzzles to solve inside the Circle. Not only will he have to be careful of the KBKS Team representative’s power, but he will also have to navigate the long frame of the 200-centimeter Serbian.
“It’s pretty obvious what he’s going to want to do. He’s the longer guy, he’s probably a little bit quicker, so he’ll do the long-guy game – use long jabs and, if I get in close, use the knees,” he says.
“I’ll probably have to make it a slugfest because he is longer, so we’ll see how that goes.”
However, Schmid has experience in his favor. With 56 bouts to his credit, “Big Swiss” has more than twice the amount of professional fights than his younger rival.
Because of that, he feels like he can find a way around these issues and put pressure on Opacic when they square off.
“I have to close the distance, and he has to try to keep me away. It’s always the same with the tall guys to little guys – well, I’m not little, but he’s really tall,” he says.
“I’m going to try and work my way in and hit him. [I’ll try to] work the body and use my low kicks. A brawl to see who has the hardest head is not always the best thing to do, but that would work out better for my style.”
In the end, “Big Swiss” is ready to win by any means necessary. He has mentally acclimated himself to a battle in the trenches and wants to offer up a great performance for the fans – especially after he didn’t get that chance in his first showing.
“It’s about being able to put out everything that you’ve practiced and putting on a good show, but for a good fight, it [also] always takes two game opponents,” Schmid says.
“For me, my best victories are not the ones where I went in and destroyed my opponent. It’s when it’s a close fight, where you go in, give it your all, and get your hand raised.
“Quick knockouts can happen to anyone, but if you have a good matchup where you can show what you practiced, that’s great for everyone – when you have to earn it and when you’ve had some hardship to battle through.”