Very few fighters personify their respective nicknames better than Mark “The Hammer” Coleman, Kevin “The Monster” Randleman (RIP) or Matt “The Immortal” Brown. Maybe it’s an Ohio thing. As it pertains to Matt Brown, being called Immortal represents much more than a catchy pseudonym. It is a philosophy, an unwavering dedication and a way of life for a fearless warrior; one who is willing to purge himself in the fire just to drag someone through the flames along with him.
Judging strictly from his cage performances, the title “Immortal” seems to spawn from his fighting style and resume. Consider his UFC Fight Night main event 2 years ago against Erick Silva as one example. Rocked by a nasty body shot that would have finished most men, Brown rallied through the barrage of punches that followed and was somehow able to weather the storm, pushing an intense pace and stopping Silva in the 3rd round via TKO. The Fight of the Night performance was easily one of the best fights in UFC history; not just in the welterweight division – in the entire history of the sport!
Even in defeat Matt Brown has shown glimpses of immortality, such as hard fought decision losses against current Welterweight champion, Robbie Lawler and former champion Johny Hendricks, neither of whom were able to lay the Immortal One to rest. Yes indeed, he often looks immortal inside the octagon; but it goes much deeper than that.
Outside the octagon, he is a survivor of a near-death drug overdose and an active shooter situation that left 4 people dead and 7 others wounded. Matt Brown is also one of the few people in this business to defy impossible odds; not only by staying relevant for well over a decade, but also for reinventing himself in recent history, earning high esteem in the deep waters of the UFC Welterweight division, where he’s currently ranked #8
On May 14, Brown heads to Brazil for the first time, where he will take on #6 ranked Demian Maia. He has only fought overseas once, in Manchester, England when he faced James Wilks, earning a 3rd round TKO at UFC 105. Unfortunately, the impressive win was followed by a 3-fight skid; but Matt Brown’s immortality prevailed again and the UFC retained the high-intensity fan-favorite. Brown found redemption with an 8-1 run in the UFC in which he KO’d veteran Mike Swick along with 5 other opponents and also earned a lopsided decision over #2 ranked Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson en route to a 7-fight win streak.
Brown spoke with MMA Latest ahead of his UFC 198 bout with Maia and talked fight preparation, mental toughness, physical fitness, and his favorite music: heavy metal!
[writer note: The transcript below has been edited for clarity and concision-RJE]
Thank you for meeting with me. Let’s get right down to business. How are you feeling ahead of your fight coming up?
I feel real good, everything’s coming together. All the timing is lining up for the weight, the cardio, everything, so..I couldn’t be happier.
What is it going to be like fighting overseas? This is only your second time fighting outside of the U.S. if I’m not mistaken. Fighting in Brazil is going to be insane, no?
Yeah, this is only the second time I’ve had to use my passport to fight. For me, it’s the same thing really; no matter where I go. It’s a hotel, an arena, and a cage. It’s not a vacation, you know what I mean? So, it’s the same thing. Now, this one is a soccer stadium, I guess it’s a little different in that sense.
It’s certainly worthy of a soccer stadium, it’s a phenomenal card. I think UFC 198 is actually better than UFC 200’s card, in my opinion. It’s headlined by Fabricio Werdum and Stipe Miocic for the Heavyweight title. Anderson Silva is fighting on the card, Vitor is taking on Jacare. It’s just an amazing card. How excited are you to be fighting on it?
I couldn’t agree more. I’m pumped, man. I missed UFC 100, they didn’t put me on that. It’s looking like I’m not going to be on UFC 200. When I look back, I can say I was on some of the biggest cards, though. I was on UFC 189 when Conor (McGregor) fought (Chad) Mendes. Now I’m on 198, which I think is better than 200. I mean we’ve got the Heavyweight Championship of the world on our card. That’s what people like, the biggest and strongest guys in the world. When you look at it like that, we’ve got the premiere fight card of the year.
Earlier you said that this fight is no different, but there’s some travel involved. How much time will you take to acclimate to the environment in Brazil? Don’t you need to arrive earlier to get settled and fulfill all the media interview obligations?
For this one, it’s a pretty close time zone, it’s only a 3-hour difference. There’s really no need for me to get there too early. I just have to overcome a really long flight. In terms of the media and everything, it ain’t no fun, and fight week happens to be one of the times when you do the most media. But, this ain’t my first rodeo. I’ve done it lots of times and I’m used to that. It doesn’t really bother me, it kind of helps me get into that zone. It used to kind of aggravate me, but now it’s so engrained into my routine that it’s actually an opportunity to use it to my advantage. A lot of the interviews are the same questions, so I use it to generate positive communication and say the things that I need to be telling myself.
Speaking of getting into the zone with positive mental attitude, I understand that you are a dedicated student of sports psychology, any suggested readings for someone who is looking to subscribe to the ways of the cerebral assassin?
I don’t know if I’d say that I am necessarily just into sports psychology specifically, but I like to read a lot of books that can help me learn to, you know, become better overall; not necessarily just as a fighter but as a person. There’s a lot of good reading material you can find, like “The Eye of the I: From Which Nothing is Hidden” by David R Hawkins. So yeah it’s basically about self-awareness and learning how to master self-regulation just like the title says. Another one that my wife and I are getting into is called “Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender”. Again, it’s like the title says it’s about learning to let go of things in your life that are just… a waste of time and energy.
The UFC Welterweight Division is so stacked, especially in the top 10 where it’s always a logjam. I think that a win over Maia puts you into a title fight or a title eliminator at the very least.
Oh absolutely, there’s so many good guys, I mean you look at the top of the weight class and you can pretty much make a case for any of those guys. Like you said, it’s always a logjam because the division is so good. Even the whole top 15. They’re all dangerous, they’re all really good. But I’m not worried about any of that right now. I’m just focused on doing what I gotta (sic) do: go down there and get this win.
You recently relocated to the Elevation Fight Team at the Muscle Pharm academy. Is the elevation training truly an advantage? I’ve always heard conflicting opinions. How high is the elevation out there?
We’re about to find out if it’s effective or not *laughs* ..I don’t know yet, but I feel great. Everything is great, my teammates and coaches are great and yeah, the elevation is a mile..you know, it’s the “Mile High City”, but we’ll see if it has any effect. Either way, I’m ready.
Muscle Pharm is a long time sponsor of yours, I assume being on their fight team means that they still sponsor you in the same manner but I can’t seem to understand the ins and outs of the Reebok deal. In other words, many fighters have sponsors outside of UFC broadcasts, but select individuals are authorized to wear other logos during fights…
We can’t wear any other sponsors during fight week and obviously, we can’t wear any sponsors during the fights, we have the Reebok fight kits. A few people can wear ceratin other logos. I mean, it is what it is. I understand why they did it. It’s a business. In order to grow your business and bring this sport to the level where it needs to be at, you have to have partnerships with the big companies, so I get it, it makes sense.
How often do you use Muscle Pharm products? Personally, I use the Combat Protein, Recon, and I think that Muscle Pharm Assault is the best pre-workout on the market. It’s the only one that doesn’t make me feel like my heart is beating out of my chest.
Oh for sure. I use all that stuff. I mean, the protein, that’s a given. I use it daily. The recon I’ll use 2 to 3 times a day when I’m in a training camp. But they have a lot of great products I like to use too, like the BCAA. It’s really good. Also, the fish oil. Like I said, I love Muscle Pharm. I’m just really proud to be a part of this team and I’m honored to be with them. You know, Muscle Pharm is one of the few sponsors that actually stuck by the fighters when a lot of other sponsors bailed.
You don’t rise to the level of your hope. You fall to the level of your training. #immortalwisdom #teamelevation #WeLiveThis #ifitdoesntchallengeyouitdoesntchangeyou @musclepharm @officialneilmagny @brukus @lucasdias81 @jakeshields @seanmfmadden @bojanvelickovicmma @firemarshall205 @vinnielopez78 @donnybrookcody @christzen1 I’m missing some tags I’m sure
A photo posted by Matthew Brown (@iamtheimmortal) on
It’s very cool to see you and other fighters figuring out ways to build your brand and potentially monetize a product like you’re doing with your podcast, The Great MMA Debate, as well as your workout equipment. Tell me about Immortal Combat Equipment. I’m very interested in this and I love the name by the way.
It’s called Immortal Combat Equipment and we basically took the concept of how would you work out if you had no machines or any kind of a modern workout equipment? It’s like a caveman approach. If you put us in a metal shop, we’re not building machines or ellipticals, we’re making something simple yet durable enough to get the job done. We’ve got several products in the line-up like the War Wagon and the Battle Hammer and our website will be up in the next week or two. But yeah, we’ve got those and other items for sale.
A photo posted by Matthew Brown (@iamtheimmortal) on
[For more information check out @immortalcombatequip on Twitter and Instagram-RJE]
Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed wrote a custom walkout song for you, “I Am the Immortal”, which is also used as the intro track for your podcast. How did that come about? Did he approach you about a song idea? By the way, for any listeners who are not familiar with Jasta or Hatebreed, please purchase a Battle Hammer from Immortal Combat Equipment and bash your head with it repeatedly.
*laughs* Actually I approached him. My best friend (Jeremy Loper) has a radio show (99.7 The Blitz, Columbus, OH) so he had Jamey’s contact information. He reached out and told him I was a fan, and come to find out, he’s actually a big fan of mine. I went to a show when they were in town with Black Label Society. I was like, ‘holy shit, I’m hanging out and Zakk Wylde is there and we’re all hanging out, so Jamey Jasta and I talked for a while. It’s funny you know, he actually told me later on his podcast, that he initially didn’t have the heart to tell me the UFC probably wasn’t going to let me use the walkout song. But, they eventually came around.
It’s the small victories that make all the difference. Anyway, Hatebreed has a new album coming out soon.
Yep, the day before my fight. I can’t wait.
Yeah, Friday the 13th, in May. It’s right after my birthday. Devildriver is going on tour with Hatebreed and they’ve got an album coming out the same day. I’m looking forward to seeing them when they come to San Antonio, I just saw Killswitch Engage when they were here. What else have you been listening to?
Oh man, I have to check out that new Devildriver, damn, I’m pretty much into everything by Killswitch. Love the new album. And I’ve been listening to the new Fear Factory non-stop, that’s my favorite album right now.
What are your favorite death metal bands? My top 2 would have to be Cannibal Corpse and Suffocation.
Yeah, same here. Those are probably my top two. Especially Cannibal. I actually got suspended from school for trying to play “Hammer Smashed Face” (by Cannibal Corpse)..well, we never ever actually got to play it. The band ended up playing a Megadeth song.
On December 8th, 2004 heavy metal guitar legend, “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott of Pantera, was tragically shot and killed onstage by a deranged fan. It was a show in Columbus, OH. I was chatting on Twitter a few weeks ago with (Fox Sports UFC writer) Damon Martin and he told me that you were actually at that show when it happened. That’s crazy. Sorry that you had to experience that horrifying event.
Nah, it’s cool. I’ve talked about it before. Talking about it ain’t going to make a difference one way or the other. It doesn’t change what happened. It’s just something that happened and yeah, I was there and uh…. if anything, it taught me to always be aware and protect myself and my family. I’m a huge supporter of the 2nd amendment and I’m sure you can agree with me on that.
More than you know. …Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me on a Sunday evening in the middle of training camp. We here at MMA Latest really appreciate it.
UFC 198 takes place on May 14th and is available on pay-per-view and it is more than worth the $60. See below:
- Fabrício Werdum vs Stipe Miocic
- Ronaldo Souza vs Vitor Belfort
- Anderson Silva vs Uriah Hall
- Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino vs Leslie Smith
- Maurício Rua vs Corey Anderson
- Demian Maia vs Matt Brown
Pain and anguish are the only guarantees in this business. A born-fighter, Matt Brown is all too willing to take the death ride under the bright lights and big crowds. Driven by title aspirations, a UFC title has eluded him thus far, yet more than ever, it is well within reach. He is in his prime and has every intention to continue his forward momentum until he stakes his claim to championship gold. Regardless of whether that dream is realized, he could walk away from the sport tomorrow, but his legacy will remain truly immortal.
Exclusive: Josh Emmett: “I think I can make a run at the featherweight title”
On Saturday, Team Alpha Male’s Josh Emmett takes on his toughest challenge yet as he steps up to face Ricardo Lamas on short notice at UFC Winnipeg. Lamas was originally supposed to take on Jose Aldo, only for Aldo to take on Max Holloway on short notice and leave Lamas without an opponent. Although it took some time to find a replacement, Emmett was the one who eventually stepped up.
“So the fight came together, as everyone knows, Jose Aldo went up to fight Holloway, Ricardo Lamas didn’t have an opponent,” Emmett told MMA Latest. “The UFC and Sean Shelby were looking for an opponent for Lamas since that had happened and they went through the top 15. They asked, basically, everyone who wasn’t scheduled to fight or had a fight already if they wanted that fight and everybody turned it down. I was one of the few- actually I was the only fighter who wasn’t ranked that my name was thrown in the hat, and my managers they talked to Shelby. I was going to fight in January and Shelby kind of just threw that out there like ‘oh Lamas needs a fight too’ so my managers told me this.”
“I went to bed that night and then I just thought about it and when I woke up the next morning I called my managers right away and I said ‘hey I want that Lamas fight’. It’s a huge opportunity and these are the opportunities I want and I won’t pass up an opportunity like that. They told Shelby and he basically asked Lamas, he said ‘this is the only person that will take the fight against you, it’s either you fight Josh on December 16th or you have to wait ‘til a later card to fight a higher ranked opponent’ and I figured as a fighter and a family man, with the holidays coming up, and you know we don’t get paid if we don’t fight, so I thought he’d take the fight and he accepted it so here we are.”
Lamas is currently the number three ranked featherweight in the UFC. The veteran of twenty-three fights is the best opponent Emmett has faced so far, but the Sacramento native doesn’t seem fazed as he predicts a fun fight for the fans.
“He’s one of the best fighters in the world he’s been at the top of the sport since he’s been in the sport,” Emmett said. “I think stylistically this is a great match-up. He’s well rounded, I’m well rounded, and I think we’re going to put on one hell of a fight for the fans in Canada and around the world and this definitely has fight of the night written all over it, he has the kind of heart, so do I. I think we’re just going to clash in the middle and see who’s the better man that night.”
The currently unranked Emmett could certainly find himself ranked into the top-ten with a win.
“I think a win over Lamas- for sure I’m in the top ten maybe ranked a little higher, maybe even the top five, you never know,” Emmett explains. “It depends on my performance. So if I can go out there and it’s just a close fight but I still get the win, I think I’m still up there but if I go out there and do what I’ve been doing in most of my fights and just dominating the fights and being one-sided or I get a finish. Then I think I can be ranked a little higher, maybe even in the top five.”
Although Emmett only has three weeks to prepare for the fight, preparation isn’t any different.
“Preparation is really no different for me,” Emmett said. “Do I wish I had a six or eight-week camp for one of the best fighters in the world? Of course. But I’m taking the cards I’m dealt- I fought six weeks ago and got right back into practice probably 10 days or 2 weeks after the fight, because I help my other teammates get ready for a fight and I jump back into sparring too, because I was helping some other boxers prepare for their fight. So I’m in good shape and I literally just ramped it up as soon as I got the notice. I know it’s 3 weeks but I had the hardest 3 week camp of my life and the weight’s good. I feel really good. I just have to show up and perform the way I typically do fight night.”
Emmett is back at featherweight for only the second time since 2014. The former WCFC lightweight champion started off his career at 145 before trying out 155, ultimately he decided 145 was the best option for him in the UFC.
“I feel good I think that’s my weight,” Emmett said. “I should have been fighting there all along. Like I’ve said before when I was starting out my MMA career I was fighting regionally. I was fighting at 145 but it was such a rough cut and I don’t know why but I wanted to try 155 one time and I feel, felt great. So I just stayed there and I got in the UFC at 55 so I just kept that going, but 45 I feel faster, my footwork- just everything, my movement is better, more fluid. I’m average to a bigger featherweight as well.”
“I think the lightweight division, I was just a small lightweight and at that level too I think every little ounce counts, as long as you’re doing everything right. I have a nutritionist, doctor, I have a whole team behind me that monitor a lot of my- just everything, besides my fight camp with like Team Alpha Male, and I just kind of dialed into that. Everything is scientific to the T. I just feel phenomenal and I think I can make a run at the featherweight title and that’s why I made the decision to drop down to featherweight.”
Visualization is also an important part of Emmett’s training camp as he believes the mental game is just as important as the physical one.
“I don’t know how the fights going to happen,” Emmett said. “It’s always unpredictable, one thing I constantly visualize is seeing my hand raised at the end of the fight. I do a lot of visualization, I work with a mind coach and I get put into every position good and bad, finishing the fight multiple ways grinding it out but always coming away victorious and to see my hand raised at the end of the fight.”
[Exclusive] Demarte Pena talks rematch with Sayed at EFC 66 and coaching on the “The Fighter”
EFC 66: The Fighter 1 Finale is only two days away now in what is expected to be a historic night for the promotion as they round off their first season of the reality show “The Fighter”. In the finale fighting for a shot at the title and 500,000 rand is Brendan Lesar and Ibrahim Mané. Topping the card though is the rematch between Demarte Pena and Irshaad Sayed fight for the bantamweight strap. In their last fight, Pena walked away with the decision win, however, it was later ruled a no contest after Pena failed a drug test as a result of a tainted supplement.
Demarte Pena comes into this fight determined to take that win and is confident it will be easier than the last. Having worked hard on his overall game, in particular, his boxing, we could see a somewhat different approach to this fight.
“Yeah, the first fight I controlled the fight really well, used my kicks kept the distance and took him down when I wanted to. But for this fight, I’ve improved a lot, especially my boxing, I’ve been boxing a lot, with professional boxers that are both African and World Champions. So I feel that my hands will be a lot better for this fight, I’ll be able to use them a lot better. And I truly believe this fight will much easier for me in terms of stand up and if it goes to the ground obviously I’ll be better than him.”
Following the tainted supplement issue, Sayed has recently been vocal about wanting to see a positive test prior to the fight. Pena did not hesitate in mentioning how he has been tested numerous times leading up to this fight.
“The last time I remember Sayed was just a fighter and he doesn’t work for WADA or SAIDS, so he might just do his job, those people are doing their job. I’ve been tested multiple times so I feel that fighters should just fight and stop worrying about other people’s jobs.”
The Fighter 1 will officially come to an end this weekend, looking back on the show, Pena described the difficulties he experienced at first but quickly grew to like the coaching aspect of the despite it being time-consuming. His overall view of it being very positive.
“Y’know coaching was very cool, at first it was, hard because I train very hard throughout the day and my time was taken up during the show. I didn’t like that as much, but after some time I started to enjoy more. In the beginning, it wasn’t as nice but the exposure was great for me and that it was going to be ultimately something good. After a while, I got to know the guys and they’re really cool guys, I made a few friends on the show so overall it was great”
The opposing team coach was, of course, Irshaad Sayed, who did a lot of talking throughout the season, something that Pena anticipated so it didn’t faze him.
“With him there as a coach I knew he was going to talk a lot, but it is what is, it’s tough sport you just gotta take the shots and give them as well”
A member of Pena’s team, Will Fleury, was tipped to do great things in the competition but was removed early after receiving numerous illegal blows to the head. Demarte agreed with many stating that the fight should have been clearly ruled a disqualification.
“Yeah, the Will Fleury incident was right in front of our corner, I do feel that Shaw should have been disqualified because those shots were illegal but I think EFC only made that decision because Will couldn’t fight anymore. In an ideal world, Shaw should have been disqualified for sure.”
Despite Fleury missing out on a chance at reaching the final, Ibrahim Mané, who was on the same team on the show made it to the final. Pena spoke highly of him as he enters the fight Saturday, believing that if the fight is kept standing it’s Mané’s fight.
“I have trained with Ibrahim for the past two weeks, he’s an extremely talented athlete, very explosive, very strong with very good cardio but he does have a disadvantage on the ground. If he gets taken down him to ground, Brendan will have the advantage.”
Confident he’ll get the win once again on Saturday, Pena is looking for bigger things having accomplished everything he can in the EFC. The UFC being mentioned as what could be on the cards moving forward.
“After I beat Sayed, there’ll be nothing more for me to do in EFC I feel that I have done everything. Yeah, definitely I think the next is to try and fight in the UFC or any other big promotion.”
Exclusive: Curtis Blaydes on Francis Ngannou: “He’s not the cleanest striker but he is very powerful”
The last time fans saw Curtis Blaydes in the Octagon was against Oleksiy Oliynyk at UFC 217. Blayes ended up winning the fight via a weird stoppage. In the second round of their fight, Blaydes got up from Oliynik’s guard and threw an illegal soccer kick aimed at his opponents head. Although the kick didn’t land, the referee stopped the fight and had the doctor check out Oliynyk. Oliynyk informed the doctor that he was unable to continue and the referee called a stop to the fight. The fight was ruled a TKO win for Blaydes in what proved to be a lackluster ending.
Even with the fight ending the way it did, it didn’t seem to take anything away from Blaydes’ victory. “No,” Blaydes told MMA Latest. “I was winning the fight. I would of won, anyone who says otherwise is just irritating. I don’t think the weird ending has anything to do with how the fight was going.”
Although Blaydes has moved on from his fight with Oliynek, one man who hasn’t moved on from a fight with Blaydes is new UFC signee and DWTNCS alum, Allen Crowder. Crowder has been calling out Blaydes in almost every interview he’s done so far. The Mebane, North Carolina native first fought Blaydes in April 2015, with Blaydes winning by TKO in the second round. “He’s not worth it,” Blaydes said. “If anyone wants to watch the video of our last fight they can look it up, it wasn’t much of a fight.”
Speaking of former opponents, Blaydes also represents the only fighter in the UFC to have gone toe to toe with Francis Ngannou without having his lights shut off. The Chicago native wound up with a closed eye and the doctors were forced to step in and stop the fight. But unlike Ngannou’s former opponents, Blaydes was able to experience the power first hand without going to sleep. “He has been getting a lot of hype but he is extremely powerful, Blaydes said. “I won’t- I’m not going to be a sore loser and downgrade all the things he does, but he is a powerful striker. He’s not the cleanest striker but he is very powerful.”
Ngannou was able to successfully able to shed the prospect label after he knocked out Overeem and punched (pun intended) his ticket to a title shot. Meanwhile, Blaydes believes he’s shed the prospect label himself after winning four straight in the UFC. “I mean I think so, but I guess it’s not for me to say,” Blaydes said. “It’s up to the audience and the media to say. I wasn’t the one who gave myself the prospect label in the beginning so it’s just up to the people who gave it to take it away.”
After four straight wins, three in 2017, Blaydes goals heading into 2018 remain simple. “To get better every fight, just trying to climb the rankings.”
- Opinion2 months ago
A list of fighters who fought Michael Bisping – while on steroids
- Interviews2 months ago
Sage Northcutt on Moving to Sacramento and Life at Team Alpha Male
- BAMMA1 month ago
BAMMA 32: Official Results and Live Stream
- Interviews2 months ago
Tim Means on Lawsuit Against Supplement Companies “I’m Going to Shut Them Down”
- Cage Warriors2 months ago
EXCLUSIVE: Matt Inman Talks Cage Warriors 87, His Love For Fighting And Craig White Possibly Tiring Himself Out.
- Interviews2 weeks ago
Exclusive: Alexander Gustafsson eyeing summer 2018 return- wants title shot next
- Interviews2 months ago
Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”
- Bellator2 months ago
Exclusive: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane- from beating ‘Soccer Mom’ to potentially making history