Friday, May 9, 2014 | 5:30 p.m.
The days of Matt Brown wandering the streets of his hometown with relative anonymity may have come to an end.
The UFC has paraded Brown (18-11 MMA, 11-5 UFC), the No. 7 ranked welterweight, around Cincinnati exhaustively ahead of his headlining bout against No. 14 Erick Silva (16-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) Saturday night.
Brown has carried more of the promotional brunt for UFC Fight Night 40, which features a main card airing on Fox Sports 1 at 4 p.m., than all the other fighters on the card combined. The brighter spotlight and home assignment counts as a reward for winning six straight fights.
Las Vegas Sun caught up with Brown in one of his final interviews before the bout to discuss fighting in Cincinnati and his current streak. Read the conversation below.
What’s been the best part of hosting the UFC practically in your backyard?
Nothing. It doesn’t feel like I’m in Cincinnati. The nice thing will be after the fight, when I can drive home. But right now, I’m staying in the hotel. That’s all I really see. I’m not going out or having my friends or family come to the hotel. I’m just treating it like every other fight. I want to keep the same routine. I don’t want to feel like I’m in my hometown.
Have you ever lived outside of Ohio?
I’ve lived here the vast majority of my life. I lived in New York City for a little while — Vegas and Seattle, too. I moved a little bit earlier in my career for training.
What brought you back home?
The main thing was when my wife and I had our twin boys (four years ago). I had to come back because I wanted to be around the family.
Four knockouts in a row, five in your last six fights. That’s almost half of your 11 career knockouts in the last two years. How did you develop that type of power after years in the sport?
It wasn’t like anything left me. I always thought I would go the gym every day and work as hard as I can. I just wanted to walk out of the gym better than when I came in. As long as I keep doing that, I knew good things were going to happen.
You’ve spoken of being unhappy with your ranking and the fact that you’re an underdog in this fight. Do you bring those feelings of disrespect or anger into the cage?
I don’t really think about it at this point. Call me Sunday and I’ll have a different answer, but right now it’s not even on my mind. I’ve got to worry about winning this fight. I live a happy life. I have a happy family and a happy home, so I don’t let that stuff get to me.
How was your recovery from the back injury that forced you out of the fight with Carlos Condit at UFC on Fox 9 in December?
I recovered really quickly. I was back in the gym as soon as they would let me, banging it out as hard and going as fast as I could. This is one of the shorter training camps I’ve ever had for this fight, but I got back in there as quick as I could.
Why was it one of the shorter training camps?
It was just the way the time worked out. They asked me if I wanted the main event in my hometown, and I said, ‘Yeah, of course.’ I’m used to 12 to 15 weeks, and I only had eight or 10 weeks for this one.
That’s a typical longer training camp than a lot of fighters.
Well, I don’t really use the term training camp. It isn’t clearly defined for me. I’m working out all the time. But this one, I was out of shape when I came back. I wasn’t able to run, hit the bag or grapple and was just in rehab. I’m more accustomed to coming into training more in shape.
Has the long layoff made you more excited for this fight?
I’m really happy right now being here at the hotel. I put in the work and here I am cutting weight and going through the grind. It’s usually miserable, but I’m (expletive) loving it right now.