Less than two years ago, Mike Thomas Brown was the scariest featherweight in the sport.
Now, the 35-year-old mixed martial artist is fighting for job security after a dismal start to his 2011 fight campaign that saw the former WEC Featherweight Champion lose back-to-back contests to Diego Nunes (UFC 125) and Rani Yahya (UFC Fight for the Troops 2).
In fact, the American Top Team standout is 2-6 since dropping his 145-pound strap to Jose Aldo at WEC 44 in late 2009, including a shocking knockout loss to Manny Gamburyan at WEC 48 just a couple of months later.
His defeat to "Manvil" had UFC President Dana White reveal a litany of personal problems for Brown, including a messy break-up with his girlfriend that led to an absence in training camp.
All water under the bridge according to Brown, who tells MMA HQ his time away from the Octagon also aided in the rehabilitation of some "nagging" injuries:
"I’m just relaxing and enjoying life a bit. It’s good to get the opportunity and I’m healing all those small nagging injuries that I’ve never really let heal properly ... Rehab on my hand has gone well and I’m back to 100% now. Ideally I’d like to fight in August or September if I get the chance ... I want [UFC fans] to see a much more focused fighter who is in there to put guys away. I want to get back on the winning track and finish this year with a bang."
Brown (24-8) has hinted at an August or September return, which could put him in line for any one of the six events Zuffa has mapped out for late summer/early fall.
But who would you pair him up with?
We've seen Brown at his best and we've also seen him at his worst. Where does he go from here? And would a third straight loss all but guarantee his pink slip?
Let's hear your take on his pending return.