This Saturday, Matt Brown will enter the cage as the headliner for the main event of UFC Fight Night 40 in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Brown, who will face Erick Silva on Saturday, is on a six fight winning streak dating back to February 2012. The man they call “Immortal” may seem close to a title shot in the UFC Welterweight division.
But then, he’s heard that before.
Fans may remember that Brown was to fight Carlos Condit back in December in a bout that was rumored to decide the next title shot at then-champion Georges St-Pierre. Sadly, an injury forced him off the show.
Then, of course, everything went nuts.
The champ St-Pierre would vacate the title for personal reasons, which included frustration with the UFC’s drug testing policy. The vacant title would be contested by Robbie Lawler and Johny Hendricks, in March. After Hendricks won, Joe Rogan named Rory McDonald as a good choice for the next contender. Attention focused on other contenders like Hector Lombard and Tyron Woodley.
Brown, it seemed, had been left out in the cold.
In a recent interview with FOX Sports, Brown sounded nonchalant as he was asked about how close he was to a title shot, and if he was surprised by the selection of his opponent.
His opponent Saturday, Silva, is ranked number 14 in the UFC’s official welterweight rankings. Many expected a higher ranked opponent, like McDonald or Lawler.
“It did surprise me a little bit,” Brown would calmly answer. “But, it is what it is.”
Does the turn of events have Brown feeling overlooked?
“I feel like I’m being overlooked by a lot of people,” Brown, who is ranked #7 in the division, admitted. “But all I can do is keep doing what I’m doing and the respect will come. I’ve only got one person to worry about right now, and that’s Erick Silva.”
“If I can’t beat Erick Silva,” he concludes, “Maybe I shouldn’t be champ anyway.”
But in the end, Brown says, he “fights because he loves to fight,” so why worry about the rankings? Those will come and go, but the love of the fight won’t change.
Brown terms his opponent a “legit threat and a tough guy,” and “as dangerous an opponent as you can get.”
While Brown has been training in Syracuse, NY with Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor Rodrigo Botti and training partners like Jon Fitch, he was born and raised in Ohio and calls Cincinnati his hometown. Brown will definitely enjoy support from his hometown crowd.
The oddsmakers, on the other hand, don’t seem so convinced. Brown is as much as a +236 underdog to his lesser ranked opponent on Saturday.
Both guys have knockout power. Silva is coming off a spectacular one-round knockout victory over Takenori Sato. But he’s gone 4-3 in his UFC career, often fading against his better-ranked opponents.
In Brown, you get the feeling he’s a guy who would fight even if there wasn’t any money in it. As Brown puts it, fighting “is what gets me up in the morning.”
He’s been doing pretty well at it.
Erick Silva isn’t a top contender. But he’s a guy Matt Brown has to beat. It seems, in the end, that’s all that’s important to Matt Brown.