Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight staple Matt Brown is on the verge of arguably the most important bout of his 26-fight professional career.
In a little more than one week's time (Dec. 8, 2012), "The Immortal" will step into the Octagon for the fourteenth time in his career opposite The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 1 cast member Mike Swick.
Even with his abundance of experience, the next fight presents something new to Brown as he will be featured on the network television giant FOX for the first time in his career.
It is a huge opportunity for Brown, and after already earning three wins in 2012, the Ohio native will try to close out the calendar year by defeating Swick and winning a fourth consecutive bout for the first time in his seven-year career.
A victory for Brown at UFC on FOX 5 would be a career milestone and prove he is capable of putting together a serious streak opposed to simply being a hot-and-cold fighter that serves as a gatekeeper at 170-pounds.
Brown vs. Swick will open the UFC on FOX 5 main card broadcast and with the fight just days away, Brown took the time to speak with Mike Bohn of MMAmania.com about the bout with Swick, his successful 2012 campaign, the toughest fight of his UFC stint, a possible return to the middleweight division and more.
Check out the interview below.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): How has this camp been going for your upcoming fight against Mike Swick at UFC on FOX 5?
Matt Brown: It's going great.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): Who are you spending most of your time for this camp?
Matt Brown: I went out to Vegas for a few weeks and had to come back to Columbus for this week, but mainly in Vegas.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): Where were you spending your time in Vegas?
Matt Brown: At Drysdale's.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): Who were your main training partners over there at Drysdale's?
Matt Brown: Well Beecher does pads for me, Mark Beecher, there's Rodrigo Botti, Evan Dunham and then there's a bunch of other guys.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): You're the only UFC fighter to have three wins in 2012 (NOTE: Stefan Struve also has three UFC wins in 2012) and would have four wins if you defeat Swick. How has it felt to go on a big run this year?
Matt Brown: It feels good, I mean, you know, obviously what I do this for is to win so, yeah it feels good to be doing what you do this for, right?
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): Has anything changed for you in this last year, or do you think it's just more of a case of you've been getting the right match ups?
Matt Brown: There's definitely been a lot of change, you know I've been back at home in Columbus, I've been working on my wrestling a lot more, you know just working. I've got a more comfortable life now overall.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): Is there any worry about overtraining with all these fights this year? You obviously know your body better than anyone, but have you noticed that maybe you don't have the same pep in your step for this camp as you did in your first camp of 2012?
Matt Brown: No, overtraining is an overused word. Definitely not over trained for this fight, I take breaks in between and definitely give my body time to recover.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): Well on the flip side of that question, what in your training allows you to stay so healthy and fight so often? You see a lot of guys getting injured recently and you seem to be good at avoiding that if you can fight four times a year which a lot of UFC fighters don't get the chance to do?
Matt Brown: Yeah, I don't know why everybody keeps getting injured. I don't know what I do different to them or whatever, but you know I haven't had very many injuries in my career, so you know I don't really know what that's all about, but I don't like seeing it, but it is what it is I guess.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): You seem like a guy who is always willing to fight no matter the circumstances. What do you think when you hear about all these fighters turning down fights?
Matt Brown: You know, I don't really know what it's all about; I just take care of myself. I don't really know why other people do what they do or why they turn down a fight or you know, I don't really pay attention to what everyone else does very much.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): Dana White recently said guys who turn down fights are worried about losing. Would you agree with that sentiment?
Matt Brown: It's understandable they would be worried about losing. You can get cut from the organization and there ain't no where else to go really, you know that's comparable to the UFC, so you know, I understand why they'd feel that way, I mean you know that's Dana's opinion - maybe he's right, maybe he's wrong, I don't know.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): You've obviously studied Swick a lot in preparing for this fight. Did you notice any changes in his game between before he took that long layoff and his comeback fight in August?
Matt Brown: Not really, I don't think there's been a big difference. You know, I think he definitely had some ring rust in his last fight, so you know, when I get in there we'll see if he's shaken all that off or not, I guess that's what we're going in there for, to see who's better.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): How do you plan to avoid the "Quick" attack of Swick? He's known for ending fights early, is it part of your strategy to get past the opening stage of the fight where he seems to be able to finish a lot of fights?
Matt Brown: Not really, he could do the same thing in the third round as the first round, I'm just going in there to fight. I'm not - I think he's got to worry more about what I'm going to do than I need to worry about what he's going to do.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): People talk a lot about how fighting on FOX is great exposure in terms of sponsorships and such. You've fought in the UFC on essentially every stage -- UFC prelims, main cards, pay-per-view (PPV) main cards - how does this fight differ in terms of the attention you've received from sponsors?
Matt Brown: I probably won't really know until after the fight as for sponsors. I don't really even pay attention until after the fight; my manager pretty much takes care of all of that. The media attention has definitely been higher, I've been doing a lot more interviews than normal and things like that, but it's the same as any other fight to me really.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): Do you like that? Do you like the extra attention and interviews? Or do you like to keep your focus more on training and preparing?
Matt Brown: To be honest, I don't really enjoy doing any interviews (laughs). I just do them anyway, just to - I guess it's good for my career and you know, I know the fans like reading that stuff so I do try to please them the best I can.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): Well on that note, I'll only take up a few more minutes of your time. You've fought in the UFC 13 times; this will be your 14th fight. What would you say has been your toughest fight in the UFC so far?
Matt Brown: Toughest fight...probably honestly my first one at The Ultimate Fighter Finale against Matt Arroyo because, you know there's so much on the line and, you know in the The Ultimate Fighter Finale - you know when you're on the show, you go to the finale and I wasn't in the finals and you just know it's do or die. You win; you probably get some sort of contract. You lose; it's back to the backyard shows. Just the mental stretch of that fight was probably the toughest one.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): Earlier this year there were some talks that you were considering a return to middleweight, is that something still lingering in your mind at all?
Matt Brown: It crosses my mind every now and then, but I probably won't ever do it. It crosses my mind because I hate cutting weight, and I feel like - I train with 85'ers all the time. I compete with all of them size wise in terms of weight and strength and everything, but when it comes to their actually size they're just so much bigger, those guys are a little longer and stuff. It would probably be best for me to stay at 170.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): Speaking of weight, how is your weight looking at this point in time this close to the fight?
Matt Brown: I think it's probably around 185, 186 or something like that.
Matt Brown: I guess another four-fight win-streak, you know? I just take it one fight at a time, my goal is just going to be to win the next fight and I'll let the rest take care of itself.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): Thanks so much for the time Matt, I really appreciate it. We'll all be watching next Saturday night.
Matt Brown: No problem, brother. Thanks a lot.