Rankings, meet monkey wrench.
There was a time, in the not-too-distant past, when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight Matt Brown was staring down the barrel of three consecutive losses, in which he was handily defeated by way of submission and even in danger of being released from the promotion.
Fast-forward nearly three years later and he's the latest and greatest 170-pound title contender.
Brown needed less than 30 seconds to turn the lights out for the venerable Mike Pyle on the main card of UFC Fight Night 26 on FOX Sports 1, which emanated from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, on August 17, 2013. The devastating finish marked his sixth win in a row.
And his fourth-straight stoppage.
Not bad for a fighter who isn't even ranked in the top 10 of his division. To put that in perspective, Martin Kampmann sails in at number six, despite a record of 3-3 during that same span. Tarec Saffiedine is ranked number eight and has yet to step foot inside the Octagon.
Brown belongs in the top 10 (see the full list here).
Fighters are often rewarded -- as well as punished -- for what they did back in the day. Brown was inconsistent following his run on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7, but has since grown as a fighter, accumulating a whopping 16 fights inside the Octagon since early 2006 for a record of 11-5.
With nine brutal finishes.
While it's too soon to have him lined up for an immediate title shot, despite his silly post-fight rant about division kingpin Georges St. Pierre, he should at least be in the discussion. A fight against the new-and-improved Robbie Lawler is intriguing, as is a scrap against the winner of Kampmann vs. Carlos Condit.
Personally, I'd love to see him throw down against Rory MacDonald.
Fans disappointed in the 15-minute game of patty cake that "Ares" had with Jake Ellenberger last month on FOX would likely get their money's worth if MacDonald was tasked with proving the aggressive Ohioan is not as "Immortal" as he's looked over the past few years.
Or perhaps even the loser of St. Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks would suffice.
All things considered, there's really no reason to leave Brown feeding on so-so talent in the middle of the pack, knocking out journeyman or turning away up-and-comers. He's already proven he can do both -- and do it well -- and needs the opportunity to start mixing it up with other 170-pound contenders.
He's certainly earned it.