Matt Brown: MacDonald, Lombard or Condit all make sense as replacements
UFC welterweight Matt Brown was just about to leave for the official start of his training camp to get ready for UFC Fight Night in Colorado on February 14 when he received some very unwelcome news.
His opponent, Tarec Saffiedine, was out of their fight with a groin injury and at the time there was no word on a potential replacement opponent.
"I was calling Dana about a different issue, Dana answered and he didn’t even know it happened yet even thought it already happened that morning then my manager calls me back and my manager says ‘Saffiedine’s out’. So I called Dana back again and said why didn’t you tell me Saffiedine’s out and he said ‘I just found out from Lorenzo (Fertitta) myself’," Brown explained when appearing on the Loper and Randi show in Columbus this past week.
Brown vs. Saffiedine was expected to headline the upcoming UFC card in Denver with the show airing live on FOX Sports 1. Saffiedine’s exit leaves the promotion in a precarious position considering almost every other top 10 welterweight is locked up in a fight already or out of action due to injury.
The toughest part might be the business side of things versus Brown’s willingness to fight whoever the UFC puts in front of him. In theory, Brown being ranked No. 5 in the world puts him in a tough spot if there are no other ranked welterweights available to fight.
I think a lot of it depends on Rory, I don’t know what condition he’s in, it depends on if he wants to take it on that short of notice. I think part of the reason it works for Hector is that he’s in shape right now. I don’t care I’ll fight them both at the same time
— Matt Brown
On the other side of the coin, Brown just wants to get back into the Octagon again after missing the second half of 2014 dealing with a hand injury stemming from his five round war with Robbie Lawler last July.
"Everybody’s matched up. That’s the toughest part," Brown said. "The position I’m in they’re not just going to throw anybody in. Before when this would happen, I would just fight anybody and it would be easy to find a replacement. This time being top five and everything and a fight or two from the title shot. I don’t mind either way. I just want to fight.
"That’s the whole political part of it. I don’t necessarily have anything to gain. I’ll let everybody else do all that stuff. They call me to fight, I fight."
The two names that still appear on the radar are No. 2 ranked Rory MacDonald, who was originally expected to fight for the UFC title until the promotion opted for a third fight between Lawler and former champion Johny Hendricks, or Hector Lombard, who just competed this past weekend at UFC 182.
Following the event, Lombard was asked about possibly facing Brown, but he preferred the fight with MacDonald. Lombard also fought for all three rounds en route to picking up a decision win over Josh Burkman, but the limited amount of time for turn around to fight on Feb 14 might eliminate him in the first place.
In a perfect world, Brown would love to get the fight with MacDonald because a win would clearly put him in the lead for a shot at the UFC welterweight title. Brown actually asked to face MacDonald in his headline fight last May in Cincinnati, but the UFC opted to match him up with Erick Silva instead.
"I think a lot of it depends on Rory, I don’t know what condition he’s in, it depends on if he wants to take it on that short of notice," Brown said. "I think part of the reason it works for Hector is that he’s in shape right now. I don’t care I’ll fight them both at the same time."
The third option is not nearly as inviting for the UFC considering it leaves the show in Denver without any kind of main event.
Brown said in a worst-case scenario situation he could get pulled from the card all together and pushed back until March or April for a fight fans have been clamoring to see for more than a year now.
In December 2013, Brown was supposed to face former interim champion Carlos Condit at a UFC Fight Night on FOX card, but the Ohio native suffered a back injury just days out from the fight, forcing the bout to be scrapped all together. Brown would still love to land the fight with Condit, who is expected to return to action in the first quarter of 2015 after having knee surgery last year.
"That’s a possibility, too," Brown said when asked if his fight might get pushed back all together. "If they end up pushing it back, they’re probably going to look to make me and (Carlos) Condit. It’s a fight I know Condit still wants.
"That’s always a potential fight out there that everyone in the world would love to see, especially myself."
For now Brown is playing the waiting game as the UFC continues to search for potential replacements to keep him on the UFC Fight Night card on Feb 14 in Colorado.