By Mike Calimbas

As featured in the latest edition of Legacy Magazine, the organization is bringing Las Vegas to Houston this Friday night in the form of Eric Schambari.

A veteran of the national fight scene, Eric has fought all around the nation for other premier organizations like World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Bellator while training with the likes of veterans like Ricco Rodriguez, Roy Nelson, and Joe Stevenson. Currently holding a record of 15-3, he’s beaten many an opponent on his way to Legacy, including UFC-veteran Matt Horwich. Now set to take on one Houston’s rising prospects in Andrew Craig this Friday night at this Friday’s Legacy Fighting Championship 8 event, many fans are anticipating what could be a Fight of the Night type of performance.

In this brief interview prior to the fight, get to know the Las Vegas a little more as he shares a bit of insight on his fighting roots, how he fought his first few fights here in Texas, and what he thinks of his LFC 8 opponent Andrew Craig.

Eric, a lot of fans are looking forward to seeing you fight on Friday. Can you give us a quick summary of your history in MMA?

I was working as a Cabana Host at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas and at the time, one of my training partners Roy Nelson was going down to South Texas to run a school down there. He brought me out with him one time and I basically ended up staying. Then a friend of mine actually brought me up to Dallas to train with Guy Metzger.

I actually started my fight career in Texas back In 2005. It (MMA) was still a little new out here at the time but was a great place to start my career. I had my first fight out in Plano and fought my first coupled of fights in Texas. It was good to have guys like Guy Metzger and Travis Lutter around when I basically started fighting.

After that I spent a year or two teaching and training with Joe Stevenson (UFC Vet, Cobra Kai teammate) at his school out in Victorville, California. He’s cornered me for a lot of my fights and he actually started taking me out to Big Bear with him to prepare a lot before I moved back to Las Vegas where I’m at now.

Las Vegas has a reputation for being a party city with all the trappings of the casinos, the nghtlife, the women, etc. What does a fighter have to do to succeed in that atmosphere?

Since I grew up out here, it’s not really that difficult. Once you’ve grown up in the city and matured it actually gets kind of boring. Otherwise you don’t last that long if you’re focused on gambling and all that other stuff instead of doing what you have to do to become a good fighter.

You got started out there initially with Marc Laimon right?

Actually, I first got exposed to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by taking privates in a garage and doing that type of training to get my feet wet. Then somebody told me to go over to where Marc Laimon was teaching so I started training with him. I originally intended on just doing BJJ but I was also training with guys like Ricco Rodriguez, Roy Nelson, and a bunch of fighters that were coming up at the time. Training with them eventually brought me to competing in MMA. I think it was pretty much a natural progression.

How would you describe yourself as a fighter at present? Do you still consider BJJ as your primary strength?

Well I’ve been working on my boxing a lot but I’d say I’m definitely more of a submission grappler just because of my background. I stopped wearing the GI about four years ago and I just basically do No-GI right now because of how it translates to fighting. I’m also doing a lot of wrestling and a lot of boxing in addition to the submission grappling so I’d say I’m pretty well-rounded.

You’re 15-3 heading into this fight with some impressive wins and big league experience. What are your goals as far as where you want your career in the near future?

I basically just want to keep winning. Hopefully I can get back to the big show with the UFC or Strikeforce or something along those lines soon.

How did you end up fighting on this LFC 8 card and how do you feel about fighting in Texas again?

Guy Metzger passed my name around to them (Legacy). I was definitely looking for more fights since I’m not with Bellator anymore. The opportunity to fight in Texas again for a great organization was a no-brainer for me. I’ve spent a lot of time training in Dallas and stuff with Team Takedown out in Arlington. I like going out to Texas a lot. To fight here is great for me.

Who has been helping you prepare for this fight at Legacy Fighting Championship 8?

I’m actually going to be in Dallas training with Team Takedown heading up to the fight. Out here in Vegas I’ve been working with my usual boxing coach Chris Beck and I’ve been training with everyone at Cobra Kai Las Vegas.

What are you expecting out of your opponent Andrew Craig?

Basically what I’ve seen and heard is that he’s well-rounded and stuff. I asked around there and I hear he’s a very tough fighter. He’s supposed to be very well-conditioned, well-rounded, a lot of heart… Basically he’s a tough fighter. That’s what I’m expecting.

Do you have any thoughts on how you’d like to beat him, ideally?

Ideally, I’d always like to go in, throw maybe one punch and knock out… That’d be nice but I don’t think that’s going to happen with a guy like this. I’m expecting him to come in well-conditioned so I’m going to have to fight him until he gives me the opportunity to take the win either on the feet or submission-wise.

Any words for Andrew prior to the fight?

I can’t really think of anything negative but I do want to let him know I’m not taking him lightly at all. I’ve been working hard to basically win this fight so it should be a good one.

Any last words for anyone else out there?

Just thanks to Cobra Kai, Marc Laimon, and everybody else that helped me prepared for this fight. See you in Texas!

For additional interviews and stories currently posted about Legacy Fighting Championship 8 fighters, please refer to the follow links:

LegacyFights.tv
TXMMA.com
TheCageDoor.net