CINCINNATI — People unfamiliar with the Ultimate Fighting Championship may not know that Matt Brown is a local product. Now fighting out of Columbus, the seventh ranked UFC welterweight was raised in Jamestown.
Brown will face Brazil’s Erick Silva in the main event for Fox Sports 1’s UFC Fight Night, Saturday at US Bank Arena in Cincinnati.
Growing up in Jamestown, Brown had the typical life of someone in rural southwest Ohio. He didn’t think there was anything special about his life.
“It’s a pretty small town so I had an average childhood,” Brown said. “It wasn’t anything too exceptional in any way, really. A lot of small-town boredom. That was about it, I guess.”
That small-town boredom led Brown into problems with drugs and alcohol. Brown’s nickname — “The Immortal” — comes from surviving a heroin overdose and deciding to change his life.
“You don’t really realize at the time how big the world really is, and you don’t have to be stuck in this little town the rest of your life if you don’t want to be,” Brown said. “There were a lot of different factors that played into it. I attribute most of it to my own personal naivete. Living in a small little town definitely played a little into that.”
Brown has changed his life around. He is a small-town success story for southwest Ohio. Brown decided to kick the habit and take on a new challenge in something he has always loved to do: fight. As a mixed martial artist, Brown has been able to become one of the best welterweight fighters in the world. Going into the fight with Silva, he is on a six-fight win streak. Brown hopes his story can help young kids realize the world is bigger than their small town.
“I hope (my story) inspires them,” Brown said. “It doesn’t matter what you have been through, it doesn’t matter where you come from, it is never too late to change yourself. You can do great things regardless of your circumstances.”
For Brown, his change in circumstances included a move from Jamestown to Columbus where he trains for his MMA fights, and continues his strength and conditioning.
Located in Columbus, Westside Barbell and is home to the world famous Louis Simmons, said to be one of the best strength coaches around. The facility serves as a private, invitation-only gym for the world’s elite athletes.
“Louis is one of my idols, I love that guy,” Brown said. “He is a genius when it comes to strength and conditioning. He is one of the best coaches in the world and I have a lot of respect for him.”
Brown has been inspired by the people he has surrounded himself with, in order to become a better fighter and person. He developed his style from all the people he has trained with in mixed martial arts.
“I don’t personally consider myself a brawler,” Brown said. “My style has just came from the different guys I have worked with over the years. It just developed from working with a bunch of different guys and finding the best guys to train with.”
“The Immortal” has managed to do a complete 180-degree turn with his life. He is now married with twins, and he continues to work hard to be the best fighter in the world.
“The funny thing about having kids and a family is it’s not ever conducive toward a fighting career,” Brown said. “You’ve got to have a strong woman there to help balance everything out. There’s definitely sacrifices for everybody and it’s hard for everybody. It’s just another test in life to try to make it work.”