Matt Brown plans on making another run at welterweight gold. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Like most everyone else watching UFC 189, Matt Brown couldn’t help but sit back and marvel at the heart Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald showed in their brutal welterweight title scrap.
After a couple major momentum swings, Lawler continued his late-career resurgence, as he finally stopped his tenacious foe 60 seconds into the fifth round. Both men left with battle scars -- Lawler a badly split lip and MacDonald a busted nose -- and the bout instantly became a frontrunner for best fight of 2015.
“Beautiful fight,” Brown said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “An amazing fight and both those guys are f---ing warriors from beginning to end and I love it. Those are the kind of guys I want to fight.
“I know that I can be at that level. I know I can win that fight, and I know that a lot of people want to see that fight because that’s gonna be another war. I absolutely 100 percent want it, and I’m going to do everything I can to get it.”
The UFC 189 co-headliner hit close to home for Brown, because it wasn’t all that long ago that “The Immortal” took a seven-fight winning streak into a meeting with Lawler at UFC on Fox 12. A victory might have assured the Ohioan a title shot, but it was Lawler who emerged with an entertaining five-round verdict that night. A decision loss to Johny Hendricks in his next outing set Brown even further back.
As a result, Brown was relegated to the preliminary bill on Saturday night against Tim Means, a dangerous opponent who flashed some of the same violent tendencies Brown often displays in the Octagon.
This time, it was Brown who did the momentum halting, as he ended Means’ four-fight winning streak with a guillotine choke at the 4:44 mark of round one. One of Brown’s trademark elbows set up the finish, as he rocked “The Dirty Bird” and forced his wounded foe to shoot for an ill-advised takedown. While Brown concedes that Means got his licks in, he wasn’t about to be defeated at his own game.
“I definitely expected it to be a war. I come in prepared for a war. He was definitely prepared to deliver,” Brown said. “Fortunately he hit me with an elbow, and it woke me up. Nobody wants to trade elbows with me, I can promise you that. And he made that mistake.”
On a night when the UFC unveiled a new look, Brown was also going through a reinvention of his own. He got close to the top of the division once before, and now he’s that much more determined to finish that journey.
“I do believe [fighting on the prelims] was somewhat of a demotion that was deserved. I lost two in a row so I deserved it, but to me this was sort of a coming out fight,” Brown said. “This was me getting back on track. This was me getting back to where I almost got to before. Just how the UFC rebranded, I rebranded myself tonight. I rededicated myself to the sport, and I coming for that title, 100 percent. I’m gonna get that title, or I’m gonna die trying.”