The promotion will showcase its immense talent to a North American audience over the next month, and the heavyweight kickboxers will play a major role in the first event on Wednesday, 7 April.
Schmid was originally disappointed to withdraw from a scheduled contest against Opacic in January, but he is ecstatic to land on this momentous bill – largely due to the Serbian’s impressive run of form.
“Even though just debuting for ONE is already nice for me, the fact [that Opacic is] doing so well has helped me get here,” the Swiss striker says.
“We’re on one of the biggest cards ONE has ever had. I don’t think I’d be able to make my debut on a card this big if he didn’t have his two impressive knockouts. If I beat him now, it will push my name even further.”
The Zurich native watched as Opacic knocked out Errol “The Bonecrusher” Zimmerman in spectacular fashion and then followed that up with a dominant performance against Bruno Susano.
Schmid is very familiar with both of those opponents, and he paid close attention, knowing that a battle against the 23-year-old phenom was inevitable.
“I beat Zimmerman by decision in 2018. I know [Opacic] knocked him out, but I feel like Zimmerman was fitter when I fought him,” he offers.
“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 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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It’s clear that Opacic will be a handful for Schmid due to his natural attributes and skills. However, this is not a new situation for the experienced 34-year-old.
“I would say experience is the obvious advantage for me. I have a lot more fights,” the Swiss athlete says.
“It’s pretty obvious what he’s going to want to do. He’s the longer guy and 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.”
Indeed, with 56 professional contests in Muay Thai and kickboxing, and with plenty of boxing experience, “Big Swiss” has been here before.
He’s also been working on a game plan to overcome his rival’s 8-centimeter height advantage, and he plans to outhustle the young star. It won’t be easy, but it’s a price he’s willing to pay.
“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,” Schmid says.
“I’m going to try and work my way in and hit him, 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.
“I’ll probably have to make it a slugfest because he is longer, so we’ll see how that goes.”
Above all, the Profight Gym representative wants to deliver an entertaining battle for the fans in his inaugural showing on the global stage.
He knows the surging Opacic will bring a lot of heat to their heavyweight tussle, but he’ll meet fire with fire in hopes that it will bring out the best in both of them.
Plus, “Big Swiss” doesn’t just want to win — he wants a memorable victory that will etch his name into the minds of fans around the world.
“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 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 and 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.”