Matt Brown will be making his return to the Octagon at UFC 96 against Pete "Drago" Sell. Brown was last seen at UFC 91 where he submitted RyanThomas after taking the fight on short notice.
As he prepares to deal with Sell, he will do so at a different camp than in the past. Moving out to Las Vegas to expand his training regimen, Brown discussed his recent transition and the reasoning behind it.
"There was a lot of things," he told MMAWeekly Radio recently. "The biggest thing was just to get refreshed in life. Change things up and get away from the norm. A lot of it, after being in the show and everything in Ohio, people started putting me up on a pedestal. I needed to come out here and be around a lot more UFC fighters where I'm kind of a nobody.
"I train mainly at Warrior Training Center. They're some great training partners out in Cincinnati. I love everyone out there. It wasn't so much the training that brought me out here. Jorge's gym, nothing against it, but it was more of a jiu-jitsu gym. That's never been my strong point. I like to stand up and bang. I work with better Muay Thai and boxer guys out here."
As luck may have it, Brown's next fight happens to be back in his home state of Ohio. Realizing that he was fighting on this card prior to making the move, he was planning to take his camp out of his home state regardless. "I was originally not planning to have my camp in Ohio to avoid distractions when I was going to fight on this card. Once I came out here in Vegas, I got a lot of good friends out here and decided to make it a permanent move."
He is excited about having the opportunity to showcase his skills to his hometown fans. "This is a dream come true to fight in front of my home town. There is going to be close to 100 people in my family there, so it's going to be pretty crazy for me."
Having a crowd chanting his name isn't something that he's necessarily used to. After all, prior to his stint on The Ultimate Fighter, Brown wasn't the cheered-for fighter. This will more than likely not be the case for this fight.
"I've never really had crowds cheer for me until I went to Atlanta. That was the first time and it was just a weird feeling. I was never famous in the local scene and stuff," he recalled. "I never really had a fan following until I made it on The Ultimate Fighter. All of a sudden I got 20,000 people cheering for me. Once that bell rings, you're not thinking too much about the crowd. You're worried about the guy in the ring knocking your head off."
Brown's opponent is no slouch either. Sell has had an up and down career in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, however most would be hard-pressed to find a boring fight that he's been part of. Sell trains with former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra and has one of the most memorable fights ever in the UFC when he lost to Scott Smith. Even though he lost that fight, it was an extremely entertaining fight from start to finish. That's what Brown is hoping for, not to mention the fact that this fight has fight of the night potential written all over it.
"I watched Pete Sell all the way back from UFC 51 when he fought Phil Baroni," he said. "I always expected him to do a lot better than he did. I always thought he was a real talented guy. As soon as they called me and said they were looking to have me fight Pete Sell, I jumped all over that. I'm ready to get that fight of the night bonus. I don't think he's going to do a lot of shooting or pulling guard or anything like that. He's going to stand and we're going to beat the (expletive) out of each other."
When you have an opponent that is willing to stand and trade with you, it can make a fighter increase his will to win and push himself just a little bit harder. That's what Sell is doing for Brown.
"It definitely made me train that little bit harder. Not that I wouldn't train just as hard anyway, but I don't know, there's just something about it. When I fought Dong Kim, I knew it wasn't going to be the most exciting fight. It turned out to be a good fight, but he doesn't want it to be an exciting fight. Me and Pete Sell, we want this to be an exciting fight. We'll go in there and try to hurt each other. We're going to do everything in each others' power to put the other one to sleep. There's no possible way this fight will be boring."