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Matt Brown explains first thoughts about retirement, still leaving door open for comeback

Matt Brown wants everyone to know that he expects his next fight to be his last.

But he’s leaving the door open slightly just in case.

The 36-year-old welterweight veteran recently announced that he will retire after his upcoming bout with fellow MMA lifer Diego Sanchez on Nov. 11 at UFC Norfolk. On Monday, Brown made an appearance on The MMA Hour in which he elaborated on when he felt it was time to end his 12-year career and why he’s not necessarily filling out all the necessary paperwork to officially call it quits.

According to Brown (20-16), retirement thoughts emerged before his most recent fight against Donald Cerrone last December.

“Maybe that wasn’t necessarily when I first felt it, but that was when I came to the realization that it’s something I should start really thinking about,” Brown said. “Because when I was sitting in the locker room, it literally crossed my mind to not even walk out. I thought about just walking outside, getting an Uber, going back to the hotel and just being done with it. It wasn’t out of fear, it wasn’t out of nerves, it was just no excitement. I was kind of tired, a little bored. And just like, ‘Man, I don’t know if I feel like doing this right now.’

“I didn’t get into this to be a journeyman, or to be in second place, I came into this to be a champion and I got very, very close to that, I think I was one round away from beating Robbie Lawler and getting to a title shot. Being that I got that close, right now, I don’t feel like I have that hunger inside my heart that’s going to get me back to that point and that’s not to say I won’t ever come back one day. I don’t plan on pulling out of the USADA testing pool and I don’t plan on canceling my UFC contract because I’d like to keep that just in case there. But I’m not going to come back unless I plan on making a run for the title.”

Brown would go on to lose to Cerrone by KO after taking a nasty head kick in Round 3. It was the first time “The Immortal” had ever been knocked unconscious like that, and the second consecutive time he’d been finished with strikes following a TKO loss to Jake Ellenberger at UFC 201.

Though there are several factors contributing to Brown’s retirement call, he acknowledged that the preservation of his health is one of them.

“Absolutely, I got knocked out for the first time in my life in my last fight,” Brown said. “Got knocked down for the first time in my life before that. I have to wonder if - you know, I had a concussion last year for the first time. All these first time things start happening 40 fights into my career, as a father and a family to go home to, when I’m slurring words to my kids, you start thinking, ‘How much is it worth all this?’ So that definitely plays a part, but it’s not necessarily my primary concern though. It’s not my primary motivation to retire, but it is a piece of the puzzle for sure.”

If Brown sticks to his plan and this is the last time fans get to see him throw down in the Octagon, he’s glad that it’s against Sanchez (27-10) and that it’s happening in Norfolk, Va. Sanchez has a reputation for wild scraps, which is exactly what Brown is looking for, especially since he wants to put on an entertaining show for a crowd that is likely going to be filled with his friends and family members.

The timing, opponent, and location convinced Brown that he should let everyone know ahead of time that his 37th pro bout would be the final one.

“Part of it was I just kind of had to commit to it,” Brown said. “What I’m afraid would happen is I would end up having a great camp, which right now I’m having probably one of the greatest camps I ever had, and then I’d get in there and feel amazing and I’d be like, ‘You know what? I’m not going to retire.’ And then a couple of weeks later be like, ‘Ah man, I don’t know, I want to retire.’ I don’t want to go through that whole up and down, that rollercoaster, I don’t want to put my family through all that.

“The second part is that I want everybody to come out, my family and everybody to know that it’s going to be my last one and they can get their tickets and everything and they can come out. Norfolk is coincidentally right in between my wife’s family and my family. My family is in Ohio, her family is in Massachusetts, it’s right there in the middle. I have a lot of family in North Carolina and Virginia Beach also, so it kind of works for everybody to kind of meet right there. And again, I think Diego makes a perfect retirement fight. I think we’re going to go out there and we’re going to have a great war and it’s going to be an amazing fight.”

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