When he steps into the octagon for Saturday’s Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight bout against the division’s top contender, Robbie Lawler, Matt Brown will likely be a bit more animated. But during Wednesday’s phone interview, the Jamestown native seemed very subdued and serious.
Brown vs. Lawler will be the main event for “UFC on Fox 12,” which will be broadcast starting at 8 p.m. Saturday.
“I have no expectations for the fight. I have no idea how it is going to go. All I can do is to get ready for it as best that I can, and be prepared as best as I can be, and let the fight run its course,” Brown said.
Brown (21-11-0) rallied to knock out Erick Silva in the third round of their May 10 main event fight in Cincinnati. That impressive finish, despite doubling over and falling to the mat after a kick to the stomach, was Brown’s seventh consecutive victory. It moved him up to the no. 5 ranking in the UFC’s Welterweight rankings, while Silva slipped to 15th.
Now there’s big opportunity at stake to the winner of this one. Win and the victor gets a title shot against Johny Hendricks (16-2-0). Lose and not only will you plummet in the rankings, but you might not get another title chance.
Or maybe you will. Lawler’s lone UFC loss came in a closely contested title fight with Hendricks in March.
Lawler, known for his heavy punch, sounds like he’s ready for a brawl.
“I’m not too worried about what (Brown’s) going to do. I’m worried about what I’m going to do to him,” Lawler, 32, told Foxsports.com on Tuesday. “That’s something he should worry about.”
Brown says he’s been staying focused on what he can do as a fighter. He’s not making any bold predictions. Instead, he wants to be ready for everything Lawler (23-10-0) throws his way.
“It’s hard to say. The fight could go several different ways. Again, I don’t have any expectations for the fight one way or another. I don’t try to anticipate things. I just try to be prepared for anything that can happen,” he said. “On paper, there’s no way to tell the outcome, but it’s going to be exciting. We’ll just have to let the fight play out and see how it goes.”
He did admit to wanting Saturday night’s fight to go better than things went in Cincinnati. After a slow start, which saw Silva get off a solid kick to Brown’s stomach, Brown had to break through the Brazilian’s submission hold try, then get back to his feet. He says that, while the end result was gratifying, getting the result in that fashion wasn’t to his liking.
“I’m always working on everything. I wasn’t really very happy with how I felt and how I performed. I know it was a pretty exciting fight for people watching it, but for me personally, I wasn’t really that happy with it,” Brown said. “So, we went back to the drawing board, and we’ve worked on a lot of different things. But that’s what you always do, you know? No matter how good the fight was, there’s always something to go back and try and work on. No matter how good things are, there’s always better.”
Brown, 33, set his training regimen to align with California’s Pacific time zone, so he’s already acclimated to the three-hour time difference. Despite fighting 2,000 miles away, he still has his share of people coming out of the woodwork to beg him for ringside seats to the fight.
“Being out here in California, it’s definitely a little different (from the last fight in Ohio), but there’s still people who call and think they’re going to get a ticket,” he said.
Asked whether he had anything to say to his friends and fans back home in Jamestown, Brown, who now lives and trains out of Columbus, sounded more upbeat.
“I love you guys. I love Greene County. I love being near Jamestown. Hopefully whenever I can retire, I’ll buy a little home there and be back to raise my kids there in Greene County,” he said. “For the younger generation of kids, I’d like them to be able to look up to me and realize that you can get out of there. You’re not stuck in the small city you live in. You can go where you want to go, and be what you want to be. Don’t limit yourself by your environment. Dream big, shoot for the stars and go for it. All the way!”
All the way to the top.