Matt Brown: “I could retire now if I wanted to, I love to fight”
One of the most difficult realities any mixed martial artist will face when it comes to ending a career is what exactly comes next.
While some fighters just can’t give up the thrill of competition because the sport is all they’ve ever known, others struggle financially once MMA no longer pays the bills. For Matt Brown, he has worked tirelessly outside the cage to make sure he never has these issues whenever he finally decides it’s time to retire.
Ahead of his clash with Dhiego Lima at UFC Vegas 29, Brown prepares for the fight at his own gym – Immortal Martial Arts in Columbus, Ohio – a facility he built from scratch and has now transformed. into a thriving facility for Midwestern athletes of all ages. On any given day, Brown will train alongside world-class wrestlers, Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners and championship-level kickboxers who will constantly push him to be better than he was when he entered the competition. gymnasium.
But beyond his own preparation, the 40-year-old welterweight veteran started his own business to make sure he was still fighting for the right reasons.
“It was all the point of building the gym and the coffee house, to have something for my retirement,” Brown explained while speaking to MMA Fighting. “Try to maximize my brand while I’m in the spotlight a lot.
“At this point, I could retire right now if I wanted to. I love to fight. It’s actually kind of a relief to know that I could retire if I wanted to, but it’s so good to know that I’m fighting because I want to, because I love it. Not because I have to.
Brown was never shy when he described his passion for fighting, but unlike so many late-career athletes, he doesn’t care what the future holds.
In fact, Brown has openly admitted that he expects his coaching career to far surpass what he did in the cage and he’s already seeing those results in the young emerging talents who are currently succeeding in his gym. .
“It’s a coach’s job – to make a fighter better than he was,” Brown said. “This is exactly the job of a coach. I really think I’ll be a better trainer than a fighter. We have very good talent at the moment. We have some good guys coming up. In the last two months we have won two amateur titles. These guys are about to go pro. We have very good talents. We have another guy who is going to fight in the Contender Series in September, AJ Dobson, and as these guys get better they will need more time.
“So this is going to take more time. I think the transition will be natural over time, but right now I’m focused on my fight and what I’m doing.
While outside businesses like his gym and the cafe company are what he will spend years focusing on once the fights are over, Brown is still more than engaged in his career inside the cage at the moment and he thinks there is still a lot to come.
“I lost my last two games, but I still feel like I have a good performance,” said Brown. “I still have a lot to prove. I think I have a lot left in my tank. I think there is still a lot that I can do in sport. It’s like it’s the never-ending mystery, trying to put everything in place for you to play that night. This is what I am trying to do.
“I’m trying to gain more experience and motivate the next generation that I’ll help start coaching. Show them, inspire them and show them that you can do it too. I am just a person who works harder than everyone else. Of course, I have gifts, genetic gifts, and special things about me, but you can have those things too. There in you. You can go over there and do that if you really want to.
This weekend, Brown will play a familiar face to Lima, who he’s actually trained with in the past, not to mention training against him in a previous season of The Ultimate Fighter.
“Me and Dhiego know each other,” Brown said. “I fought his brother, I trained him on The Ultimate Fighter so we know each other a bit, we know each other’s style. I mean obviously tons of bands on me, everyone knows what I’m going to do, my trends and everything. I know Dhiego fairly well. We practiced a bit together, so we have already felt each other’s body. We know a little about our strengths. I trained against him when I was with Jesse Taylor. I trained Jesse throughout this camp to fight Dhiego.
“I don’t think there are any secrets in this fight. There’s no ‘I wonder what he’s going to do.’ We know each other and we know what we both bring to the table, so we’re both going to go and I think it’s going to be a great show.
If that wasn’t enough, Brown also holds a second round TKO victory over Douglas Lima – a former Bellator welterweight champion and older brother to Dhiego – and that always adds a little extra to the story that’s on the cusp. to unfold in the cage.
“I’m really excited for this one and I know he’s going to seek revenge on his brother,” Brown said. “I don’t know if that’s a motivation for him, but it must be a little deep in his brain. You want to give that one back to him.
“I’m sure her brother feels like ‘give me this one back.’ So I expect him to come out ready.