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Brown tackles the 'Bad Boy'

Story by Anthony Springer Jr

It wasn’t too long ago that the mentioning of Mike Brown’s name to someone who only casually followed the WEC would be met with anything other than, “Who?”

With a record of 19-4 coming into the bout, Brown (20-4) moved quietly up the featherweight ranks to a headlining match against “The California Kid” Urijah Faber last November. To all unaware of Brown’s skills, it seemed to be little more than a foregone conclusion that he’d be another stepping stone in Faber’s path.

But as any loyal MMA fan knows, one punch can change the course of a fight. In the opening round of the five round fight, Faber, known for his daring and often reckless moves, attempted a no-look elbow of sorts.

Brown made him pay.

Instead of connecting with Brown’s temple, Faber found himself on the wrong side of a Mike Brown right hand. Brown hit Faber, Faber hit the floor, and the WEC featherweight division had a new champion.

With a new chapter birthed in his career, don’t look for Brown to go around avenging any of his four previous losses—he’s in no hurry.

“I’m not really chasing anybody down trying to get a rematch,” Brown, 33, said on a recent conference call. “Especially those guys at 155, I don’t care too much to fight at that weight. I definitely wouldn’t mind fighting Urijah again. That’s what the fans want and it’d sell tickets. A lot of people want to see that fight and I’d be happy to do it again.”

Before Brown can look at a rematch with Faber, he’ll be staring across the Octagon at Leonard Garcia. The Texas bred fighter opened a lot of eyes with his dismantling of former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver the same night Brown captured the gold.

“He’s definitely an A level top ten guy,” Brown said of Garcia. “If I perform well, I’m going to win. If I don’t, I’m going to come up short.”

And there’s the daunting task of a champion: performing well on a consistent basis. For Brown, the acquisition of the belt comes with a new mentality on fighting.

“I’m more motivated to train now than I have been before. I’m ranked at number one by most people and now I think that way and I have to train that way. I know that Leonard is gunning for me and I have to do everything that I can to fight him off.”

Though Brown is taking Garcia seriously as a fighter, there’s also a lingering feeling that Mike Brown—the MMA fan—is happy to be a participant in this featherweight showdown.

“Leonard and I—this is a big fight. This is an exciting matchup and we’re going to try to knock each other unconscious, this is big.”

In the victory over Pulver, Garcia proved that he can throw bombs. Not to be outdone, Brown proved the same thing with the victory over Faber, a feat accomplished with injured ribs.

“It’s something where you don’t really feel it until you cool off,” he said of fighting with an injury. “I felt fine during the fight.”

After dethroning one of the WEC’s biggest stars, training with an accomplished tandem in American Top Team and being ranked as the number one featherweight in the world, Brown has yet to cash in on his growing stardom—and that doesn’t bother him one bit.

“Life hasn’t really changed for me,” Brown said.

“I just get noticed more.”

 


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