Recently I was fortunate enough to interview top welterweight contender Matt “The Immortal” Brown on his upcoming fight with Carlos Condit, GSP vs. Hendricks, how he got his start in the sport and more.
As always, Matt’s responses are italicized.
How is training for the Condit fight going?:
So far so good
What’s the gameplan going into the Condit fight?:
It’s always same gameplan, try to stay loose in there and try to adapt to the fight itself, I don’t have any preset missions, I do what I do and he does what he does. I just go and give it everything I got
In one of your last fights you got hit with a body shot and looked hurt, did anything become of that?:
I was actually injured before that fight, my ribs were and he caught it, close enough where I felt it. It was a good body shot, it would’ve hurt pretty bad regardless.
Is that all healed up now:
Yeah it’s all good now, It healed up during my last training camp. Went to the doctor, got some x-ray’s and it’s healed up now. It healed during the camp for my last fight.
The topic on everyone’s mind lately, GSP vs. Hendricks, what did you think?:
I thought at the end Hendricks had won, you know he did more damage. It looked like he had won, I didn’t score it round by round. I don’t know if I would’ve scored more for GSP or not, but I had the feeling that the end of the fight that Hendricks had won.
What are your thoughts on all the judging controversies in MMA, and is that in the back of your mind during a fight?:
I just perform the best I can each training session and do the best I can each fight, and hurt him every chance I get. I don’t think about trying to finish or trying to not go to decisions.
With a win over Condit a lot of people are saying you’re next for a title shot, what are your thoughts on that:
I try not to concern myself, I’m just going to train to win that fight and whatever follows after that I’ll let happen.
I remember seeing you on TUF way back when, do you still keep in touch with Forrest?:
I still say what’s up if I see him, I’ve been to Vegas to train with him in the past. He definitely taught me some things since then, but he’s not my coach anymore like on the show.
You split wins and losses for a while after the show and now you’re on a 6 fight win streak, what sparked that change?:
I don’t really think it was one particular thing, just more a matter of consistent hard work. Always being in the gym and learning new things, everything’s just coming together for me now better than it has in the past.
Does being a father play into fighting for you at all? Has it changed your perspective on fighting at all or how you view it?:
I don’t know about it changing my perspective, but it can put a lot of pressure on you if you let it. It can definitely add another dimension to your life. Things like rest are harder to get, some people might see it as a distraction. My perspective on fighting is the same I think though, for a while I was having some hard times with having kids and wanting to be with them and trying to train and fight at the same time. I definitely put negative pressure on myself, but I learned from that and ultimately it made me a better fighter and a better person in general.
How did you get your start in Martial Arts?:
I was actually fighting before I started training martial arts, I loved fighting. I realized you know I guess I better get to a gym if I want to pursue MMA.
How did you make that jump into training in a martial art?:
I started with Muay Thai. I stayed local for the most part, I never really even left the midwest growing up I think. We’d go on vacation occasionally, but i barely even left the state until I was fighting.
Where did you grow up:
Columbus Ohio, that’s where I still train now.
Talking about your start in MMA, how did you get involved in TUF:
I actually moved to New York 4-5 months before TUF, and I was a trainer and they happened to have tryouts in Newark. I went over and happened to get on the show. I was shocked when I found out I got on. I didn’t think I’d get on.
How long had you been doing MMA before that?:
I had been doing it for like 4 or 5 years before I got on TUF.
A lot of guys that were on TUF say the hardest part is living in the house for 3 months. How did that affect you?:
It didn’t really change me, being stuck in the house was perfectly fine. It didn’t bother me until I lost you know, I lost to Amir in the semis. I know there was only a week left in the show so the majority of the time I was happy because I had something to look forward to and I was training every day. Then I hurt myself in the fight with Amir pretty bad, I hurt my ankle and couldn’t train after. It didn’t change me at all other than training and learning techniques for new guys and higher level fighters. It was a good experience for me, the house didn’t bother me, overall I enjoyed it.
Do you keep in touch with anyone from the show?:
I actually met my Muay Thai coach Mark Beacher on the show, he was Forrest’s coach on the show, and I’ve been with him ever since. Some of the guys if I see them I’ll say whats up or whatever, but we don’t call each other.
How did Mark Beacher become your coach after the show?:
Well I really like his coaching style and I saw him coach Forrest to a world title, and I want that for myself. I moved to Vegas and was training with him and the other guys he trained, and it all transpired from that.
Him being in Vegas and you living in Columbus now how does that work?:
I usually go out to Vegas and train, and he recently came to Columbus and he’s looking to open a gym in Columbus. He just recently move here, it’s good because I’m not going out there for training camp and I keep learning new things.
How long did you live in Vegas?:
I lived there for a year, lots of people out in Vegas played a big part in my evolution as a fighter.
You describe your style as being a technical brawler, how did you come up with that?:
I didn’t coin that term, but I think it definitely defines me pretty well.
Would you say that style is similar to what we saw in Sanchez vs. Melendez, that never back down style:
*laughs* I hope not, I have the abilities to not fight like that and not take a beating. The way I fight I come forward and push the pace. You know, there’s a method behind the madness. I’m not going in there and taking 3 hits to get 1, nothing like that. There’s a lot more to it than that.
I know you have a purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu, how has that played into your career?:
Um you know I worked on it back then too, it’s just something I don’t pick it up naturally or as easy as other things. I have to put extra time into it. The guys I got tapped out by earlier in my career were good. I made tactical errors in the fight, and a lot of the times I was trying too hard to fight. It’s not that I don’t have good Jiu-Jitsu or know how to defend moves, but I’m sure looking at my record I can see how people would think differently.
With you getting your start in Muay Thai, did you ever fight in those fights?:
I did the amateur shows a long time ago, before my MMA career started. I didn’t train then, I had never been in a gym when I won my first MMA fight. When I started working in a gym, that’s more when I consider that my MMA career started. The internet doesn’t show all my fights. My first one was in like 2001, and it wasn’t sanctioned or commissioned. It was just like the Wild West, fighting for free and stuff, but yeah if you look online the first one I trained for isn’t on there. I trained a month or so before that. I had like 12 or 13 fights before that.
You had 12 or 13 fights before a gym?:
Yeah, there wasn’t commissions or sanctioned fights or events, it was just like the Wild West, you do whatever you wanted, it was a street fight.
At what point did you realize you could make a career out of fighting?:
Probably when I got on The Ultimate Fighter, before that it was more of like a goal to make it a career. I wanted to, but it was like maybe it’ll happen, but maybe it wouldn’t. Then I got on TUF and started thinking this can really happen.
Have you made many training camp changes since TUF?:
I’ve been all over the country, and seen a lot of different styles and ways of training and taken a little from each and learned from each of them. I take the best and take what works for me, and what doesn’t for me I discard it. It’s constantly evolving the best part of what you have to do to be a great martial artist is evolve.
Were you a fan of MMA before you started training?:
Oh yeah, my first UFC was Tank Abbot. The first VHS that got me into it was Sakabura vs. Royce Gracie. It was amazing. My first live event was UFC 49 Couture vs. Belfort. I was a huge fan back then, I was definitely a little fanboy. I was on the underground forums, and I’d go to the library to use their internet back in like 2002.
Being a fan for such a long time how has it been for you to see the UFC nad the sport of MMA grow with you being a part of it?:
It’s a dream come true, I was a fan dreaming of what it would be like to be in that cage. It’s definitely a dream come true. I just take it one day at a time, I just try to stay humble and not really look at the big picture and worry about each day and do the best I can and go as far as I can in the sport.
If you could have a dream fight with anyone who would it be?:
How do you think the Weidman rematch is going to go?: It’s going to be interesting to see how Anderson fights this time, I look forward to seeing it.
With your Muay Thai have you considered going to Brazil to visit his Muay Thai college?:
My coach has been trying to get me to go down there actually, I thought about it. There’s a kid here now whose from Curitiba who trained at Anderson’s academy, one of his old training partners comes up here. It’s a long flight and it’s expensive, it’s probably cheap once you get down there though. When the time comes I might make that trip.
What is it like balancing training camp and family?: I still do everything the same, I leave my home for a few weeks to get rid of distractions and things like that. I’m training all the time though, staying in good shape. I don’t really do what most people consider a training camp.
So with you always training do you have huge weight cuts?:
I don’t have to focus on cutting weight as much during the training camp. I can focus more on getting into shape, but weight cuts are always hard man. I usually walk around at like 185 when I’m not scheduled for a fight.
So with the Condit fight coming up, have you made any changes?:
Just being in good shape really, Condit always comes in great shape, he fights hard. I just gotta be ready, I’m just working hard every day and getting ready to get in there and bang it out best I can.