LAS VEGAS – At 40, veteran slugger Matt Brown knows the end of his fighting career is coming soon, but he’s not ready to take that step just yet.
“Never gets old; that’s why I keep doing it, man,” Brown told MMA Junkie at Wednesday’s UFC on ESPN 25 media day at the UFC Apex. “Still get the nerves. Still get the butterflies. Still, you know, just pumped, man – and yeah, this is the greatest feeling in the world.”
Fighting under the UFC banner for the past 13 years, Brown is one of the most tenured fighters on the roster. But even a true veteran of the game admits there’s still a shot of adrenaline like nothing else on the planet ahead of a professional cage fight. Brown has said the key is to “embrace the fear,” a sentiment he still believes to this day.
“People forget, like, you could still die out there,” Brown said. “This is not a game. This is life and death out there. I know the UFC, we’ve been lucky, and I don’t think anyone’s ever died, but it happens, you know? I mean, this is a brutal, brutal sport, and I mean, I’ve had some brutal injuries from fights, so you know, that’s scary, man.
“But even more than all that, you know, you have the potential of being humiliated; that’s what’s scary. I’d rather get my face broken or my leg or whatever than be humiliated, and that’s that’s what the real fear is, so I just enjoy it, man. Like, ‘Good. I’m scared again. I like it.’”
Brown (22-18 MMA, 15-12 UFC) makes his 28th walk to the octagon at Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 25 event at the UFC Apex, which airs on ESPN2 and streams on ESPN+. “The Immortal” faces fellow welterweight Dhiego Lima (15-8 MMA, 4-6 UFC) in a main-card clash.
Brown helped coach Lima on “The Ultimate Fighter 25,” so there’s a real familiarity between the two. Brown said the meeting is all about respect but is going to deliver on fireworks.
“Dhiego is a really, really, really good fighter, and once he kind of gets his sh*t together in there, you know, he’s really going to spark some people,” Brown said. “I’ve got to stop that, and yeah, it’s a great fight. … We’ll be friendly and everything before and after, but for 15 minutes, it’s going to be a bloodbath.”
Just how many more bloodbaths Brown is going to deliver in a legendary UFC career remains to be seen. He has started preparing for the next phase of his career by opening a gym and launching a coffee company. But for now, Brown doesn’t want to talk about the end – only what’s still to come.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever feel comfortable saying, ‘that was enough,’” Brown said. “Right now, I’m focused on this fight, kind of working on it. After that, I’d like to get that knockout record. I’m pretty close to that. I’d like to implement the skills that I have that I haven’t shown. You know, like, I work on these skills all the time in the gym, and then I go out there and fight and don’t do any of it, so I think that, to me, is probably the most meaningful thing for me, you know? I’m a martial artist, and that’s that’s what I want to do, is practice something and then go do it and show that it works and test it against other people.
“I think I have a lot to offer still. I still think that I have a lot of things that I haven’t shown. I don’t think I’ve put on my best performance yet. It might be one of those unicorns you’re chasing where you’re always searching for that best performance. I’m sure everybody would say that, but I just think I can do a lot better than I ever have.”
To hear the complete interview with Brown, check out the video above.