Matt Brown can't think about the title with Robbie Lawler standing in his way
Matt Brown is excited at the prospect of fighting for the UFC welterweight title, but until he gets past Robbie Lawler, that can only serve as a distraction.
Matt Brown talks Robbie Lawler, title shots and not working with Duane 'Bang' Ludwig
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC / Zuffa LLC
By Damon Martin
In the days removed from his first headlining fight in the UFC, top five ranked welterweight contender Matt Brown was back in the mode of normal, everyday life, not really focused on pursuing anything other than some down time after a long training camp and three round battle with Erick Silva.
Brown attended a festival concert in Ohio where he picked up 'training' again by getting in the middle of a mosh pit during the set for the band Avenged Sevenfold, who he used for his walkout song in the Silva fight. From there Brown traveled to Kentucky to go to a pair of family reunions and some weekend camping, far, far away from the bright lights of any neighboring city where spotty cell phone reception is at best a slight luxury.
Thankfully during those days and nights camping in remote Kentucky, Brown was able to check his phone and over the weekend following UFC 173 he noticed a slew of missed calls from his manager. His wife's phone also had several missed calls, which alerted Brown to the fact that something was going on at the UFC and he needed to get back to him as soon as possible.
Once he got on the line, Brown's manager informed him that the UFC wanted to pit him against Robbie Lawler as the main event for FOX UFC Saturday in San Jose -- the same location where he defeated Jordan Mein in 2013, while taking home a 'Fight of the Night' bonus -- and the extra caveat for the offer was that the winner would then compete for the UFC welterweight title against champion Johny Hendricks.
It took zero thought from Brown to immediately say 'yes' but then his mind shifted from elation about the offer to focus on facing one of the best welterweight strikers in the history of the sport. As much as the talk leading up to his fight on July 26 will focus on the title shot, less than 24 hours removed from the bout being announced, Brown has already put the championship far out of his mind.
I don't even think about that right now. I think about I've got to beat Robbie Lawler. He's as tough as they get.
— Matt Brown on fighting for the title
"I don't even think about that right now," Brown told The Loper and Randi show in Columbus, OH about the title shot in his first interview since the news broke about the fight. "I think about I've got to beat Robbie Lawler. He's as tough as they get."
Brown is currently contemplating his options for building a training camp to get ready for Lawler because unlike many UFC fighters, he doesn't have a set team that he trains with for each bout. Instead, Brown caters his training to the opponent just like he did when traveling to Syracuse, New York to work with former UFC welterweight Jon Fitch to get ready for the Erick Silva fight. Fitch had already faced Silva so he knew exactly what to expect and how to help Brown get the best out of his camp in preparation.
It's likely Brown will do the exact same thing in this fight to ensure he's ready to rumble against Lawler.
Considering Brown's striking prowess and penchant for knockouts, the question was raised about possibly pursuing a partnership with head coach Duane 'Bang' Ludwig for his upcoming fight against Lawler, especially considering the success the former UFC fighter had with Team Alpha Male and the recent performance by T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 173.
While Brown has the utmost respect for Ludwig, as the old saying goes 'styles make fights' and he doesn't believe his matches up well with the former Team Alpha Male coach. Ludwig may be the best coach in the world for some fighters, but for Brown he opts for the guys who will dump gasoline on a raging inferno by adding to his already dangerous standup arsenal.
"No, we have our own style. Like Dorian Price coaches me when he's in town and he's better than Duane, in my opinion, for my style," Brown said. "Mark Beecher, he's better than Duane. Duane is an amazing, amazing coach, I mean I've never worked with Duane so I can't say that, but Dorian I've worked with, for me, he's better than anybody out there ever."
With just about two months until the fight with Lawler in San Jose, Brown is moving quickly to put his camp together and start preparation for the five round, main event showdown. Brown's nerves are already starting to get jangled, but don't take that as a sign of weakness because he wouldn't have it any other way.
Just like on fight night when Brown walks to the cage and he sees Lawler staring back at him from across the Octagon, the anticipation of the moment will wash over him like a bucket of ice water being poured down his back. If not for those nerve rattling moments, why do this anyways?
"If I didn't get those butterflies, I would just quit," Brown said. "It's like going skydiving and not getting a rush. Like what are you up there for? What are you doing?"