Matt Brown: Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler 'looked like they were just playing pattycake'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Sorry folks, but Matt Brown just isn't all that impressed with the motley crew who currently reign atop the UFC's welterweight throne.

Brown, perhaps the division's most dangerous and forgotten contender, has been handing out concussions like they're going out of style for much of the past two years. And now that Georges St-Pierre's exit has given way to a 170-pound free-for-all, Brown recently made his feelings about his competition known in a pointed post-UFC 171 tweet.

And, not surprisingly, it's a stance Brown is sticking by.

"That's exactly how I feel," he said flatly on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I think I can beat any of the guys. I think I put on better performances than of the guys did on that card. I think that I have a better resume at this point than any of those guys have that were on that card. And everybody's only talking about those guys. Nobody's really talking about me, so obviously I haven't spoken up the right way."

Six ranked welterweights lined UFC 171's pay-per-view card, four of whom had a chance to make a definitive statement for their case as No. 1 contender, and two of whom -- Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler -- had a chance to become the first welterweight champion not named St-Pierre since 2008.

Tyron Woodley and Hector Lombard both made strong cases with wins that night, though not irrefutable, while Hendricks edged Lawler in a five-round slobberknocker to claim the vacant title.

A majority of the main event was contested inside the pocket, with both Hendricks and Lawler eating haymakers and firing back. Afterward both men were battered, and many hailed the fight as an instant classic. Though Brown, like Nick Diaz, didn't exactly come away overwhelmed.

"I don't know, [Hendricks] didn't look that great that night, even though he had that torn bicep -- that kind of changed my opinion a little bit. But, I don't know. It was a good fight for sure, but it looked like they were just playing pattycake or whatever," Brown said.

"There wasn't no finish. There wasn't anything amazing that happened. A lot of people thought it was an amazing fight, but I didn't think it was as amazing a fight as everybody else thought it was."

For Brown, being the odd man out was only exacerbated by the fact that he very well could've been the guy next in line.

Riding a six-fight win streak highlighted by five ferocious knockouts, Brown was initially scheduled to fight then-No. 2 ranked Carlos Condit on December 14, 2013 at UFC on FOX 9 -- conveniently, the day after St-Pierre ended up announcing his leave of absence.

The stylistic clash of raw aggression vs. controlled aggression was among the most anticipated non-title fights of the year, however less than two weeks out from the event, Brown had to withdraw after herniating two discs in his lower back towards the end of a particularly rough training camp.

Injury dropouts are common in MMA, but Brown's especially sent out a ripple of a depression through the community.

"All of that you guys were feeling, I think I was feeling it 10 times worse," Brown said. "I think I shed a tear when I found out it was over. It was probably one of the saddest things to ever happen to me.

"[Doctors] said I was really close to, if it would've went another millimeter or so, probably would've had to have surgery. If I would've decided to go ahead with the fight, then I would've had potential rupture again, which requires surgery and could've possibly ended my career. But whatever, all of that is beside the point. What did end up happening was fixed by rehab."

Brown now says he's back at 100-percent and training for his upcoming bout against No. 15 ranked Erick Silva, which will headline UFC Fight Night 40 on May 10 in Cincinnati, OH.

The hard-hitting Brazilian presents a dangerous challenge, to be sure, though Silva isn't quite the type of top-tier opponent Brown expected to see across from him.

"I was a little bit surprised," Brown admitted. "Went from, what, Condit was No. 2? And I think Silva is No. 15 now. I don't think he was [ranked] before. That's definitely a huge drop. But, you know, main event. Erick is one of those guys that he could beat anybody in the top-10 any day, and I think pretty much everybody knows that. Any of the hardcore fans know how good he really is. He's had some bad luck fights, but man, everybody knows how good this kid is, so I don't think it was a drop in skill level. It's just a drop in the actual rankings."

For all his vast potential, Silva is just 2-2 over his last four fights, and despite Brown's division-best streak, the Brazilian is the yet another opponent outside the top-10, meaning a victory over Silva will likely have less of an impact on Brown's hunt for the title than a win over a tested name like Condit.

Ultimately, though, it's out of Brown's hands. All "The Immortal" can do is keep mounting the heads of fallen foes on his wall and hope the rest of this ruckus figures itself out.

"I mean, I don't know what I gotta do," Brown said. "Everybody says, well you gotta fight a top-10 fighter. I just fight whoever they put in front of me. I fought six guys in a row that I beat, I think only one of them went to a decision. It's not my choice not to fight a top-10 guy.

"I see a light at the end of the tunnel, for sure. But the fact is, the only thing that matters to me is beating Erick Silva. All this other junk is beside the point, because if I don't beat him, then all this talk is void anyways."

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