The UFC’s welterweight division is a tough landscape to try and navigate these days and one of its most dangerous contenders is in need of a fight. Matt Brown recently saw a high-profile opportunity at Fight Night 78 against Kelvin Gastelum evaporate because of an ankle injury. After missing out on that main event assignment in Monterrey, Mexico it’ll be intriguing to see what comes next for “The Immortal.”
The 34-year-old Ohio native has had a remarkable career transformation. It’s hard to believe that Brown was once seemingly a mediocre journeyman who was on the chopping block after a 2011 loss to Seth Baczynski. Since that time he’s 8-2 and emerged as a 170-pound title threat after a string of blistering stoppages. Brown has an aggressive style that has produced a 90 percent finishing rate. He utilizes punches, elbows, knees and kicks to full advantage with his devastating offensive blitzes. His extraordinary toughness also helps to make for entertaining battles as Brown is rarely involved in a dull affair.
Brown’s last appearance was a prime exhibit of the types of fights that he produces inside the Octagon. He was hurt early in his UFC 189 clash with Tim Means, but rallied to secure a first-round submission triumph.
It was the bounce-back effort that Brown needed after his loss to former champion Johny Hendricks at UFC 185. “Bigg Rigg” went back to his wrestling roots to grind out the win, opting to avoid engaging in a brawl against Brown. The clash with Gastelum shaped up as a potentially fierce battle, so it was a major disappointment for Brown to be forced out of that contest. However, there are a number of exciting potential options to consider for his next appearance.
The No. 5-ranked contender’s best stretch was an impressive seven-fight win streak that included brutal finishes of Jordan Mein, Erick Silva, Mike Pyle and Mike Swick. Brown also picked up a decision win over No. 8-ranked contender Stephen Thompson. He saw his title quest derailed at UFC on FOX 12 when he dropped a unanimous decision to current champion Robbie Lawler in a ferocious battle. There’s no doubt Brown’s exciting style makes him a favourite of both fans and top brass alike. Another victory or two would put him right back into the title picture.bba
While Tyron Woodley is apparently playing the waiting game to face the winner of the UFC 195 bout between Lawler and Carlos Condit, it could be argued that a matchup with Brown would make for an exciting title eliminator. Woodley saw an important matchup at UFC 192 against Hendricks scrubbed when the former champion was forced to withdraw from health issues stemming from a tough weight-cut. “The Chosen One” has an impressive wrestling background and formidable power. He’d make for an entertaining matchup against Brown, who has never been stopped via strikes.
If Woodley can’t be coaxed into the Octagon again for anything other than a title fight, alternative options would need to be considered. I think a potential clash against former title challenger Rory MacDonald would make for a vicious encounter. MacDonald is coming off a failed bid to unseat Lawler in what was an insanely brutal title bout at UFC 189. The “Red King” has been linked to a possible future matchup with Hector Lombard. I honestly think MacDonald vs. Brown would be the better fight with the potential for extreme violence.
Another possibility to explore is a matchup with Brazilian striker Thiago Alves. It would make for a certain slugfest. The former title challenger was forced out of a Fight Night 79 showdown in Seoul, South Korea with Benson Henderson because of an injury. His aggressive striking style combined with Brown’s tenacity would lead to a definite war of attrition.
The one wild card in the mix to consider for Brown could indeed be Henderson. The former lightweight kingpin cracked the top-15 after his second straight welterweight win against Jorge Masvidal. If Henderson does sign a new deal with the UFC, a matchup against Brown would make for an excellent main event for a future Fight Night card. Henderson’s slick style and immense skills would get a major test from Brown’s savagery.
There’s little doubt that Brown has the motivation and drive to remain a key figure in the welterweight division. He’s carved out a solid Octagon career with his never-say-die approach and punishing style. His return to action will provide more fireworks and it’ll definitely be interesting to see who he draws for his next assignment.