After nearly beating current champion Robbie Lawler (left) last year, Matt Brown is more convinced than ever that he is championship material.
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
A lot has changed for UFC welterweight contender Matt Brown recently.
He’s had fight dates and opponents change for him.
He had to leave one of his coaches behind after the two of them got into an argument and then a fist fight.
Article continues below ...
The TUF veteran also decided to keep his training camps closer to home, as opposed to going out of his native Ohio, as was his custom for awhile. That decision was first prompted by Brown, the husband and father.
"The main thing was my family," he told FOX Sports. "I wanted to try and not get too far away from them."
For his UFC 185 bout this Saturday in Dallas against former champion Johny Hendricks, Brown has traveled a couple hours away from his home of Columbus to train in Cleveland at the Strong Style gym. The family man in Brown made the decision to stay in Ohio for camp, but the fighter also came to be very happy with the change.
"I didn’t know this camp here in Cleveland was so good," he said. "They are really good and it’s only a couple hours away, so it’s easy enough for the family to come visit on weekends or after workouts."
So, it seems clear that the change in camps has been good for Brown. All the rest — brawling with a former coach, having opponents and fight dates changed — would, on the other hand, seem to be distracting.
After 10-plus years in MMA and more than 30 fights, Brown insists that change and uncertainty don’t rattle him.
"I don’t know what it is, maybe it is just my mentality, but I just worry about the day," he said. "I wake up every day and train as hard as I can. Who knows what will happen tomorrow. I could die tomorrow, who knows? I’ve had a lot of fight changes in my career. I’ve had a lot of injuries, a lot of coaching changes. Everything is always changing, all the time. I just wake up, eat, train, go to bed, and do it again."
Brown can’t pretend that the violent friction between he and a former Jiu Jitsu coach was a positive, but he does insist that he’s in a better spot, now for having split with the instructor.
"It was a blessing in disguise," he said. "It was a long time coming. It wasn’t just a situation where we got mad and we had a fight, right away. It was something that happened over a period of time. I think it was a blessing in disguise. Good riddance."
One other change that Brown had to go through in the past year was going through a loss. Prior to his close decision loss to now-champion Robbie Lawler last July, Brown had won seven straight fights, dating to 2012.
After fighting Lawler so close, and seeing "Ruthless" go on to beat Hendricks in December and become UFC welterweight champion, the whole world may be more willing to believe what Brown had been saying for years: that he was ready to fight and beat the very best in the world.
"I believed it beforehand, and I believed it afterwards," he said. "I could’ve and should’ve beaten Lawler. I’m not going to say I did win, just I could’ve and should’ve. I can win that fight. I can beat any man in the world, under the right circumstances, as people say.
"When I’m on point, and everything is going right, I’m every bit good enough to be the world champion. Not everything always goes right, of course. That’s the whole thing in MMA. If everything worked out perfect, it would be a different sport."
As such, Brown has focused his training on getting himself as close to perfect as possible. With all the changes, Brown hasn’t concerned himself with what Hendricks will try to do to him on Saturday.
Hendricks has shown a willingness to go toe-to-toe and slug it out and has also fought with a more conservative wrestling style. Brown doesn’t know which Hendricks will show up, but he isn’t too worried either way.
For Brown, it’s always about going out there and doing what he wants to do, not simply reacting to his opponent.
"I don’t care how he fights," Brown said. "He’s got to worry about what I’ve got to do. I’m coming after him. I’m going to put him where I want him to be. That’s who wins the fight, right? The guy who gets the other guy to do what he wants. I plan on imposing my will."