Matt Brown’s unlikely march towards the top of the
UFC’s welterweight division may have a new but welcome
roadblock in its path. Brown wanted a top 10 opponent next, and it
appears he’ll get one, as FOX Sports has learned that the UFC
plans to match him up with No. 8 ranked Tarec Saffiedine in
Brown, riding a six-fight win streak, is coming off a 29-second
knockout of Mike Pyle in Boston on Aug. 17.
On Thursday, UFC president Dana White confirmed the
promotion’s plan to FOX Sports, but said that the pairing is
dependent upon Saffiedine’s health. The former Strikeforce
welterweight champion was forced out of his expected UFC debut in
July due to an undisclosed injury, and is still on the mend, but he
recently told mixed martial arts media outlet MMAFighting.com that
he hopes to be back in the cage by the end of the year, a timeline
which would fit the UFC’s plan.
Brown recently cracked the rankings at No. 10 after his
dismantling of the highly regarded veteran Pyle. The win also
marked his fourth straight knockout victory, as he continues an
extraordinary turnaround from a time where it appeared his UFC run
was in jeopardy.
When 2011 ended, Brown (18-11) had lost four of his last five
and was barely above .500 for his career, but it was his exciting
style that kept him on the roster, and he’s managed to
complement his dynamic striking with extreme aggression and
finishing instincts to build forward momentum.
After his last fight, he acknowledged his goal was to continue
marching towards a date with longtime champion Georges St-Pierre. A
win over Saffiedine would add greatly to his cause.
Saffiedine (14-3) excelled during his Strikeforce run, going 7-1
and capturing the championship with a strong unanimous decision
victory over former UFC No. 1 middleweight contender Nate
Marquardt. Known for a kick-heavy offense, the 26-year-old Belgian
is a graceful striker, a sharp contrast to Brown, who prefers to
stalk his opponents around the cage and fight from inside.
White was not sure which December show would be the most likely
landing spot for the matchup. As of now, there is only one
officially announced card for the month, UFC 168 on Dec. 28, but at
least two other events are probable.