That does not sound like the record of an up and comer nor a potential contender in one of the UFC’s strongest weight divisions, but look closely and one will see that it actually happens to be true. Brown will come into tomorrow night’s main card bout with five straight wins under his belt, and a sixth will likely put him in against a top contender in his next fight.
The man known as ‘The Immortal’ came into the UFC after competing in the seventh season of the Ultimate Fighter. Although he lost in the quarter finals of the show to eventual winner Amir Sadollah, and had a modest record of 7-6, the UFC chose to give him a shot at fighting in the Octagon.
It was a move that has paid off both for Brown and the organisation. While he went 4-4 in his first eight fights for the organisation, his balls to the wall style (just three of his 15 UFC fights have gone to decision) and well rounded skills made him a favourite among dedicated MMA fans.
Brown initially started his UFC career quite well, going 3-1 in his first four fights, with his only loss coming to then undefeated South Korean grinder Dong Hyun ‘Stungun’ Kim. The Immortal then went on a slump, however, losing three straight to Ricardo Almeida, Chris Lytle and Brian Foster, all by submission in the second round.
It appeared that Brown may have been on the verge of being released, as many fighters do after losing three straight in the Octagon. The UFC decided to keep him on, though – perhaps due to his killed or be killed nature – and he relished it with a win over John Howard.
He stumbled in his very next fight, however, after losing to Seth Baczynski, again via submission and again in the second round. That loss appeared to turn on a switch in Brown’s head as he came back just two and a half months later to finish Chris Cope via TKO.
He then came back anther two and a half later to hand Stephen Thompson – whose kickboxing accomplishments gave him a wealth of hype – his first loss of his MMA career. Brown fought twice more in 2012, finishing both Luis Ramos and Mike Swick in the second round.
The Immortal was quickly changing his reputation from being a fighter who was finished in the second round to one who finished in the second round. That was something he further cemented back in April when he finished young gun Jordan Mein just one minute into the second stanza, earning him five straight wins and Fight of the Night honours in the process.
Now Brown faces one of his biggest tests in his eight-year MMA career against Mike Pyle. Pyle is not a fighter who is considered one of the best in the Welterweight division, but he has developed a reputation as a tough veteran and is a real threat to all fighters who stand before him.
He is 8-2 in his last 10 UFC fights, with his losses coming to Rory MacDonald and Jake Ellenberger, who are both well established top ten fighters. Pyle has beaten Rick Story, is the only fighter to beat James Head via TKO and the only fighter to have ever beaten 17-1 British fighter John Hathaway.
Beating Pyle won’t be an easy task for The Immortal, but doing so will be a huge exclamation mark on what has been a remarkable turnaround for Matt Brown’s MMA career.