It was only three years ago that Matt Brown was a middling guy in the UFC’s welterweight division. He was a man who was coming off a submission loss to Seth Baczynski. With a 12-11 record, Brown was a forgotten man at 170 pounds.
That loss was a turning point for the career of “The Immortal,” though. He reeled off seven consecutive victories and threw his name into the ring as a title contender alongside Robbie Lawler, another veteran fighter who had resurrected his career. Lawler beat Brown — Brown also missed weight for the fight — and Brown fell back into the shadows due to injuries and inactivity.
The media and fans like to sit and talk about title contenders for the current champion, the aforementioned Lawler. Rory MacDonald’s name gets thrown around a lot. There’s also Hector Lombard. And don’t forget Kelvin Gastelum, who has shot his way up through the rankings from The Ultimate Fighter winner to title contender and has an important fight coming up this weekend at UFC 183 against Tyron Woodley. Of course, there’s also Johny Hendricks, Brown’s upcoming opponent, who is 1-2 in his last three, all of which were title fights.
There’s just one name missing from that list. Despite his meteoric rise, Brown doesn’t come up in that discussion. Seven straight victories having seemingly been canceled out by one loss and a stretch of inactivity. He has been cast aside. Everybody forgets about Brown.
That shouldn’t be the case, however. Granted, Brown hasn’t been in a fight since that July 26 bout with Lawler, but the 34-year-old was only one fight away from a title shot. He lost to the eventual champion in a competitive five-round fight. He really brought the fight to Lawler.
Brown was tenacious against Lawler. He landed some hard elbows and gave it a valiant effort to wrest the title shot away from Lawler. Brown never really faltered during that fight. He wasn’t completely outclassed and never looked like he didn’t belong in the same cage with Lawler. If it wasn’t for the fact that Lawler is as tough as they come, we might have talked about Hendricks vs. Brown a lot sooner.
There are only a few guys who can be counted on to put on a good show, no questions asked. Brown is one of those guys. With a win over Hendricks, he should be right back in the mix of title contenders. Heck, he should be there now.
Brown isn’t on a streak like MacDonald. He isn’t as scary of a fighter as Lombard, either. However, Brown brings it every fight. He pushes the pace, throws hard and takes everything thrown at him. You could probably build a trebuchet-style catapult and launch rocks at Brown and he would still walk toward you looking to throw a bomb and plant you on your back.
In a division filled with killers, Brown is one of the division’s biggest killers. When March 14 rolls around and Hendricks looks to earn a trilogy fight with Lawler, Brown will step back into the cage and once again leave it all inside the Octagon. The importance of the fight can’t be stressed enough. It would be the biggest win on Brown’s record. Not only that, but a violent finish reminds us of what we are all forgetting: Brown is a vicious fighter who entertains us fight after fight.
Sure, we can sit here and discuss the MacDonalds, Lombards and Gastelums, but when you forget Brown, you’re forgetting one key person in the welterweight division. He can terrify opponents with his power, and he has come from out of nowhere to evolve into a top fighter.
Remember where he was three years ago? That was perhaps the last time we overlooked Brown. Yeah, it turned out pretty well in his favor.
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