One knockout loss is not going to deter Joe Schilling.
The kickboxing phenom has not strayed from his path as an MMA fighter due to a second-round KO defeat against Hisaki Kato at Bellator 139 in June, he told MMA Fighting. Schilling still plans on competing in both sports as often as he can.
"I'm still 100 percent committed to fighting," Schilling said. "I like to fight. I fight regularly."
His next bout will be back in a kickboxing ring, though. "Stitch 'Em Up" will meet Jason Wilnis in the main event of GLORY 24 on Friday night in Denver. Schilling was supposed to get a middleweight title shot against Artem Levin until Levin pulled out with an injury.
Wilnis is a top middleweight contender in GLORY, but not the titleholder. Schilling has been eyeing gold since losing to Levin in the finals of the GLORY Last Man Standing tournament in June 2014 with the belt on the line.
"I don't know if I would have agreed to that fight beforehand if it wasn't Levin," Schilling said. "But when they changed it from Levin to Jason, I didn't think about not fighting. I already agreed to fight."
Schilling, 31, is coming off a 90-day medical suspension due to the knockout against Kato, which precluded him from appearing at Bellator MMA: Dynamite 1. The Los Angeles resident was not happy about that, because of the large scope of the show. Schilling wanted to represent GLORY and kickboxing to the MMA audience and he was somewhat disappointed by how the kickboxing matches came across at that Sept. 19 event in San Jose.
"Sometimes with matchmaking, you think it's going to go one way and it turns out it's a boring, sh*t fight," Schilling said. "I think that event specifically should have been everybody putting out their best product."
Schilling is hoping to be on the Dynamite card next year.
"When you have the opportunity to actually present both sports to an enormous audience, it's a great time to bring out your heavy hitters," Schilling said. "Not that it wasn't exciting. I still think Dynamite was a landmark event. I don't think it was that terrible of a thing."
While Schilling is focusing on kickboxing the rest of this year, he does plan on going back to American Top Team in Florida again in advance of his next Bellator fight, whenever that is. Schilling lost a close split decision to Rafael Carvalho back in April and now Carvalho is fighting for the Bellator middleweight title next week. So, he does not think he's far off the pace -- the knockout was just a small setback.
"I got caught with a punch," he said. "That's the game I play. I'm not sour on it at all. It was a good opportunity. I enjoyed the process. I'm gonna keep doing both."
Kato took Schilling down in the first round of that June fight. And that takedown was fresh in Schilling's mind in the second round when Kato landed the Superman punch finish.
"The first time he took me down, he rushed me," Schilling said. "I reacted badly and I went straight backward. When he rushed me a second time, I was a hair late on the reaction. I was shaking my arm out or something. I paused and I couldn't decide if I wanted to throw a left hook or sprawl. My hand dropped and at that moment it was a little too late.
"It's a completely different sport. You have to react completely different. A lot of the instinctual stuff and the reaction stuff that you train to do a certain way [in kickboxing] is completely backwards and wrong and you have to change that. I don't know if I'd say it's a learning curve. Guys can be doing MMA their entire careers and they can still get caught with punches and knocked out."
Schilling only has seven pro MMA fights. Look for him to add to that total quite a bit in the future.
"Sh*t happens, especially in MMA," Schilling said. "That's thing about MMA. There's so many different ways to win."