Matt Brown has a unique outlook on his fighting career. While it may seem grim to some, it’s just the harsh reality of the sport where he competes.
Back in 2017, the 24-time UFC veteran had announced his intention to retire. Then he walked that back in the days leading up to his fight against Diego Sanchez. After scoring a devastating knockout by face planting Sanchez into the canvas, Brown was ready to commit to at least one more fight after he booked a long awaited showdown against Carlos Condit.
While the end of his career was on his mind not long ago, Brown has a slightly different perspective when it comes to his future. He’s not thinking about retirement as he prepares to face Saunders. But then again, he knows deep down that every fight could be his last.
“Honestly, I’ve always done it one fight at a time,” Brown explained in an interview with MMA Fighting. “That’s really no different, and this one feels just like that. The last day on my mind right now is Dec. 14. That’s it.”
When he explains it in greater detail, Brown’s approach might sound morbid. But he’s just facing the potential finality that stares back at him when he realizes what could happen every single time he sets foot in the Octagon.
“I look at the reality of the situation,” Brown said. “You could die in there. It’s a legitimate possibility. This could be the last day on the planet for me. So why look at Dec. 15? Today could be the last day, too, who knows, but I’m putting myself in a very high risk situation. I pretty much go into every fight just assuming I’m going to die.
“I don’t necessarily buy into that whole ‘I’ll fight to the death’ thing because I’ve tapped out before. Obviously, I won’t fight to the death, but I also go in with the assumption that I’m probably going to die. Then I’m much more comfortable. I’m probably going to die anyway so I’ll just fight as hard as I can.”
Outside of his own views, Brown knows he may be taking on a wounded animal with a similar mindset at UFC 245.
Saunders is a crafty veteran in his own right. But he’s also coming into the fight off three straight losses, which means it’s entirely possible his job with the UFC is on the line when he clashes with Brown.
That could bring out the best in Saunders, which is just another reason why Brown doesn’t look any further than the test that stands in front of him on Saturday, Dec. 14 as if Sunday is not guaranteed to arrive.
“I’ll go ahead and assume he’s got his back against the wall, he’s going to be fighting like that,” Brown said. “He’s got something to prove. He’s got something to fight for. I assume he’s going to be training harder for this fight than ever before and he’s going to be the best Ben Saunders that we’ve ever seen. I can’t expect anything less.”
While he is expecting the absolute best out of his opponent, Brown can only hope that Saunders is paying him the same respect.
After opening his own gym—Immortal Martial Arts—in Columbus, Ohio and working alongside UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman, who will be in his corner this weekend, as well as veteran striking coach Ryan Madigan, Brown is ready to show off a few new tricks and obviously he’s prepared to leave it all in the cage this weekend.
“I have to respect who he is and what he does,” Brown said. “He has some very high level things that he does and with all opponents, you have to respect that. But the fight is about me. He needs to worry about what I’m going to do. I’m going to bring the fight to him.
“I think the best defense is a good offense. I go in and punch him in the face, it’s going to be hard to do any of those high level things he wants to do.”