Saginaw's John Schulz ready for mixed martial arts comeback in AFL
Saginaw's John Schulz ready for mixed martial arts comeback in Adrenalin Fighting League
SAGINAW — After three years out of the mixed martial arts cage, John Schulz is stepping back in.
Ask him the reason, and he doesn’t hold back.
“Legitimately, I think I’m the best 170-pound fighter in Michigan,” Schulz said. “I really do. I train with a lot of people, I just want to prove how good I am. I don’t want to be 45 years old and be woulda, coulda, shoulda. I want to give it one hard push.”
That push will continue Saturday night when Schulz, a Saginaw resident, will make his second comeback fight.
Schulz will be fighting in the main event at “Hell Bent,” an Adrenalin Fighting League event held at The Dow Event Center’s Heritage Theater.
Doors open at 7 p.m, with the first fight scheduled for 8 p.m. General admission tickets cost $27. Front row tickets cost $42. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at www.adrenalinefightleague.com.
The Adrenalin Fight League is a mixed martial arts league started in May, featuring all area fighters. The league’s first event, June 19 in Tawas City, drew nearly a thousand people, said Brandon Guoan, a Bay City fighter and event organizer.
“These are going to be some really good fights,” Guoan said. “I don’t like taking people out of the crowd to fight. We’ve got quality fighters.”
Saturday night’s card will include some former area high school wrestling standouts like Troy Lamson of Swan Valley and Tony Barron of Nouvel Catholic Central.
It’s the influence of young fighters like those two that compelled Schulz to get back into the cage. Since he purchased New Body Health & Fitness in Bay City a year ago, Schulz has spent his time training young MMA fighters and hopefuls.
“Being around these young kids, coaching these young kids and training with these young kids day in and day out, it kind of lit a fire under me again,” Schulz said. “I really want to prove it to myself more than anything, just how good I am.”
Schulz’s first comeback fight lasted all of 21 seconds, when he scored a TKO on Bay City’s Chad Ellison at a fight night in Bay City last month. The win brought his overall mixed martial arts record to 8-0.
After spending time doing boxing, wrestling and Brazilian jiu jitsu, Schulz got involved in MMA in 2006. During his three-year hiatus, Schulz stayed in shape, working out five days a week, before he got the itch to fight again.
Being involved for four years makes Schulz, 33, a veteran in the young, fledgling sport. As both a fighter and a trainer, he has watched the sport explode in popularity. Ultimate Fighting Challenge events now draw millions of television viewers.
“The popularity’s blown up,” Schulz said. “It’s huge now.”
If Saturday’s fight goes as well as his first fight, Schulz hopes to parlay his comeback into a professional MMA career — and back up his claim to being the state’s best 170-pound mixed martial arts fighter.
“After this, it should be on to the next level,” Schulz said. “I’m definitely ready for it.
“I’m in good enough shape, I believe, to fight once a month at a pretty high level. The goal is to basically fight once a month until I get hurt.”
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