On Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 40, Matt Brown reminded us all why he is a fighter not to be missed.
It’s not that he’s the walking definition of technical perfection because he’s not. But he is violent, fully committed, utterly courageous and willing to take bullets to the teeth if it will get him up close and personal with his opponent.
And lest we forget, he hits damn hard, throws strikes in bunches, is excellent up close and tough as a coffin nail. In fact, if it weren’t for his suspect submission defense, his record would probably be a lot better than it stands now.
But even with 11 losses on said record, right now he is looking mighty fine to both fans and the UFC brass. He’s won seven fights in a row, with six of them coming via stoppage.
If there is any knock against him, it is a simple one that is a symptom of the depth of the sport: He still looks beatable by fighters with a strong wrestling base.
That being said, he’s in good company. There is another fighter out there (although on the sidelines right now) who has been in the same boat for most of his career: Nick Diaz.
Like Diaz, Brown is a stand-up slugger who loves to fight. Granted, Diaz might not like the preparation for the fight, but once the bell rings, he looks like a man who is doing what he loves. If that is just a case of Diaz doing what he must instead of what he loves, then he’s one dedicated man in the heat of the moment.
The difference between the two of them, at least outside the cage, seems to be one of philosophy. Diaz no longer feels like fighting anyone save champions or big-money fights. Without either, he seems more than content to sit on the sidelines and let the sport pass him by.
Brown does not seem to suffer that kind of jaded viewpoint; back in 2010, very few pundits or fans would have pegged him as a fighter who could turn it all around like he has. He paid them no mind and was just happy to be training and fighting—keeping it simple and working hard.
Now, he’s in more than a few conversations regarding title contenders. In a sport where excitement is worth its weight in gold, that is not surprising.
During Brown's performance against Silva at UFC Fight Night 40, one has to be wondering if Diaz was watching—cheering for a great fight on one hand while pondering how he would handle such an adversary.
When you consider a bout between Brown and Diaz, the mouth just waters at the promise of violence. Both men are cut from the same cloth: Each would rather go out on his shield than be in a boring fight.
And not to be a wet blanket for Brown fans (of which I am one, to be sure), but Diaz could defeat Brown, either in a stand-up war or on the mat.
Of course, Brown could also defeat Diaz, either by KO or TKO.
On paper, this fight is an excellent clash of styles, even though both men are primarily stand-up fighters. Diaz does his best work when he can keep his opponents on the end of his punches; Brown shines when he is up close and able to attack with elbows, punches and knees.
Both men are incredibly durable when it comes to taking punishment and responding in kind; evidence of this is seen in their past fights. How many times have both men been involved in the kinds of bouts that seemed like clear nominees for Fight of the Year?
For a long time, talk of superfights has floated around, and it almost always involved bouts between fighters of different divisions—fights that were never likely to be made.
This time, we have a potential megabout between two fighters in the same division. The only thing missing is the big money needed to make it happen.
When thinking about the spending of such money, the first question to ask is: Is it worth it?
In the case of Brown vs. Diaz, the answer is a resounding yes. This is a fight for the fans and nothing more. Of course, Brown could see his name elevated if he were to defeat Diaz, while Diaz would get the money he wanted while having the chance to further his argument of being one of the biggest draws in the sport.
The second question is: Would giving up the money for this fight set a bad precedent?
If there are any bad precedents to be set, they have already occurred, and the sport has thrived. While divisional ramifications are important, the promotion of great fights is equally important, and a bout between Brown and Diaz seems like an instant candidate for Fight of the Year before the first punch is thrown.
It seems high time that the UFC took the time and invested the money needed to redefine the term superfight—bringing it out of the realm of improbable and actualizing it for perhaps the first time ever.
Brown would clearly be stepping in as the white hat, with Diaz utilizing his incendiary brand of trash talk to claim the black hat. Everyone who dislikes Diaz would be tuning in with the hope of seeing him lose (perhaps retiring for good after), while the rest of us would watch because that much violence in one location is just mind-blowing.
This is the time to honestly make such a fight. Brown is on a hot winning streak, and Diaz still has the name value (and the proven hostility and ability to go with it) to make this a must-see bout.
The idea of a superfight has always been, at least at its core, about wish fulfillment. Short of seeing Georges St-Pierre battle Anderson Silva in a video game (or Silva battle Jon Jones), we won’t get to see those fights.
But a superfight between Brown and Diaz? That is a very possible fight that is not only the most viable great fight to be made using the term but also the one that promises to yield the results that the term engenders.
And when you envision Brown staring down Diaz, with the latter talking his patented trash, well, things suddenly get very real, very quickly.
And in a sport where the tagline of the lead promotion is “As real as it gets,” nothing could be more important.
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