UFC welterweight Matt Brown is never one to mince words. On a recent episode of his podcast, the top contender caused a stir when he issued an opinion about pro wrestler CM Punk (real name Phil Brooks) signing with the UFC despite have no combat sports experience.
"I thought the sport, the UFC, itself, was beyond that now," Brown said at the time. "Bellator doing this, I could understand. I could see other organizations doing it. The UFC, I just didn't expect it.
"I don't have a problem with the UFC doing it. What I have a problem with is CM Punk being dumb enough to think he can do it," Brown continued. "If he wants to come fight a real man I'll be standing there. I'll fight Tarec Saffiedine on [Feb. 14] and I'm the main event, everyone will be gone. I'll fight him right after Tarec if he wants. Hopefully what happens here is that all these keyboard warriors that are like, 'Oh I could go in there and fight' see that a legit athlete -- CM Punk is an athlete -- and they see him go in a get demolished by a prelim fighter or someone that also shouldn't be in there and they'll see this shit is a little more than what you think."
Brown's fight with Saffiedine has since been scrapped (he'll face Johny Hendricks now in Dallas at UFC 185 in March), but Brown believes while some of his comments were misinterpreted, he stands by the bulk of what he said.
"On ESPN, they said I called him a 'dumb athlete'. Well, I didn't call him a dumb athlete. I said he's dumb to think that he could compete with UFC-level guys in his first fight," Brown told Ariel Helwani recently on The MMA Hour.
"And I would completely stand by that statement. If he were standing right in front of me, I would tell him that. How many people walk into our gym all the time and say, 'I want to be in the UFC'? I'm like, 'Well, you're dumb to think you're going to be able to do that. I don't care if you're freakin' CrossFit champion or gymnastics champion, whatever. Unless you're a wrestling champion - not pro wrestling champion, but like a NCAA champion or something - then I would tell you you probably shouldn't even think about it until a few years of training."
For Brown, he's doubling down. He's quick to note he understands why the entire thing is happening - "It's the UFC's decision. It's cool. I totally get why they're doing it" - but that, personally speaking, it's so removed from what his idea of MMA is supposed to be about that it loses appeal.
"It just seems that it's blatantly obvious that it's not really about him being a champion. It's not like we have any reason to believe he's going to have an exciting fight. Literally, the only thing is he has this name from pro wrestling. To me, that does not excite me at all.
"Who is he going to fight? The only person they could bring in would be another person that doesn't know how to fight. It's crazy to me."
For 'The Immortal', however, there's something else few are addressing that Brown believes will reveal itself later: Octagon jitters. It's one thing for an experienced MMA fighter who is a UFC newcomer to experience. It's quite another when a fighter has no idea what a real pro fight is like.
"At least Brock Lesnar, he at least knew what he had in store, what it felt like to get in there. The thing that I was getting at when I was talking about CM Punk was, I think he's going to be in for a big shock. When you step in that UFC cage, when they say it's as real as it gets, that's the truth. When you walk in there, those lights shining on you, everybody looking at you and there's a dude across the cage that wants to rip your head off, it's a different feeling than anything he's ever felt before.
"He's going to have some really deep, dark thoughts," Brown explained. "We call it the Worm of Doubt. He's going to have lots of worms in his head causing doubt."