UFC welterweight Matt Brown avoids back surgery, expects Octagon return by late spring or early summer

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Brown won't be sliced and diced after blowing out his back ... but did he lose his place in the 170-pound line?

Matt Brown had quite an interesting year.

After beating the brakes off Jordan Mein and Mike Pyle, the former Ultimate Fighter (season five) was penciled in to fight Tarec Saffiedine in the second half of 2013. Unfortunately, "The Sponge" was forced to bow out due to injury and as a result, sent "The Immortal" into a potential slobberknocker opposite Carlos Condit.

Then it was Brown's turn to get injured.

It was a doozy, too, as the 32-year-old brawler damn near ripped his back in half, tearing two discs and putting himself out of commission for the rest of 2013. The good news is, Brown will avoid surgery and with an aggressive rehab schedule, can expect to resume training in February, according to MMA Fighting.

That puts his Octagon return at somewhere in late spring or early summer.

Brown (18-11) is ranked at No. 8 in the official UFC rankings (see them here), winning his last six fights and finishing five of them by way of knockout or technical knockout. When and where he returns remains to be seen, but you can bet he'll be looking to jump right into the deep end without a vest.

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