The veteran fighter on taking the good with the bad and building a memorable resume.

You are much more than a fighter. You are an introspective, deep-thinking guy. You shared a post that had the message of surrendering to the outcome. Did you surrender to the outcome of this fight with Lima? 

That’s pretty much how I live. You go in there and focus on what you can control and take care of those things. Sometimes the guy is just better than you on that day or in that moment. You can’t let that get you down. 

There is no shame in losing to some of these warriors in the UFC. You have to take the good with the bad and when it goes bad you have to pick yourself up and dust yourself off. When it goes good, you don’t get too excited about it and you just continue to do the right things to repeat the process. 

We talked about not getting too high or too low. Reflecting on the Miguel Baeza fight – one in which most people would have had you coming out on top – what did you do to not get too low or let it affect you too much moving forward?

I won’t lie, that last one hurt me pretty bad. Not just the result but the fact that I didn’t prepare myself properly. With the pandemic and the shutdown, it hit me hard. I was basically believing that it was it. The UFC was over. There aren’t going to be fights for a long, long time. I should have stayed the course and stayed on the path but I didn’t. It all motivated me to get back stronger. 

Speaking of the pandemic, how has it altered your training and just your life in general?

It has certainly been a consistent nagging pain. I learned a lesson. When it first hit, I really let it get to me. We were locking down and I thought it was going to be the zombie apocalypse and everybody was going to die. I thought it was the end of the world. Then, I shut the TV off. I got the hell off my phone and I got my head to where it needed to be. Now, it doesn’t affect me at all. I looked into it all too much and let it get to me a little too much. 

Knowing you the way I do, I know you are a deep guy. You are a thoughtful, conscious dude. How did you manage to not overthink or to stop overthinking the situation and shut it all off? 

That’s it, man. You just have to shut it off. I am certainly a victim of overthinking at times. You shut the shit off and put it out of your mind. I focus on what I can control and focus on myself. I quit letting these outside things creep into my mind. I’m not on social media nearly as much as I used to be. I don’t watch the news at all. People start talking about it and I’m just like ‘Whatever, man.’ That’s not to say that I’m a fool about everything, either. I’m not ignorant to what is going on in the world or the way things are. I just stay to myself and stick to what got me to where I’m at. The number one thing is focusing on what I can control. 

You are not only training for UFC fights but you are in the process of running Immortal Martial Arts Center. It would appear on the surface that having a gym would make it easier to prepare but on the other hand, running a gym can make it far more difficult to prepare for a fight. How have you handled it all leading up to recent fights? 

That is exactly right. Having your own gym presents a whole new level of challenges. I am fortunate to have really good people around me that help out a lot where I can lay a baseline and let them take care of it all during my hard training. Hopefully, I am able to inspire all of the people in the gym and bring them to a higher level. 

I see MMA legend Mark Coleman is in the mix with you on a regular basis. What does it mean to be able to call on him and have his presence and knowledge to assist you?

It’s great having Coleman around. He is a great motivator. He always has a good attitude about things. He is there to push you through those last rounds when you don’t want to do it. He has his own unique way of coming across and he has a strong personality. He isn’t for everybody but he actually brings me up. He’s a lot smarter than people give him credit for. He has a lot of good qualities that can be overlooked because he talks loud and gets in his own way sometimes. We get past those things and we have a great team together and we work really well together. 

When the career is all said and done, what is going to be written on the last page of the last chapter of the Matt Brown story?

Well, the last page, I don’t know. From the beginning, I did this all for myself. It has been a great ride.

I hope I go down as a warrior who gave it his all, as a guy who came from nothing and made something of himself. Hopefully I inspire others to do the same. No matter how bad their life is, no matter their circumstances, I want them to see that this guy did it. They can do it, too. I’m not a superior athlete. I wasn’t training martial arts since I was a kid. 

There are a lot of things I don’t have that a lot of other fighters at my level have. What I do have is work ethic, dedication, commitment and I want to inspire others to follow that path. 

By Tony Reid