Leading into his slugfest with Diego Sanchez on the main card of UFC Fight Night 120 this past Saturday night (November 11th, 2017) at Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Virginia, Matt Brown made it clear that this would be his retirement fight.
The promotion even hyped it as his last fight with video packages before the fighters were about to step inside the Octagon.
However, following the fight, which saw him score a first-round knockout over Sanchez, Brown was noncommittal by stating that he would need to take time to make his decision.
“I don’t know, man. To be honest, I’m not even thinking about it right now,” Brown said when asked about his fighting future at Saturday night’s post-fight press conference. “To be honest, it’s not even really a thought in my mind. I’m thinking about enjoying tonight, and we’ll talk about it later.”
As a result of flatlining Sanchez with a ferocious standing elbow in UFC Norfolk’s co-main event, Brown snapped a three-fight losing streak in thunderous fashion. It also marked his first win over two years.
“With Diego, I was kinda trying to play it slow,” Brown explained (transcript courtesy of MMA Fighting). “I didn’t even want to knock him out that fast. I mean, I shouldn’t say that I didn’t want to, but it wasn’t really in the gameplan. Like, I was kinda feeling him out and I was gathering my distance and setting things up for later rounds, and the opportunity just presented itself, just naturally.
“Just ending it feels good, more than anything. I felt like I needed a finish. I don’t know, I just wasn’t getting the job done, so I had to come out here and show that — at least show to myself that I’m better than I’ve been fighting.”
Even though it was a strong performance for Brown, it was bittersweet due to the fact that he holds so many great memories of watching Sanchez compete in the early days of the promotion.
Sanchez was one of Brown’s favorite fighters due to him inflicting such damage. It was a tough fight for him not only physically, but mentally.
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“I told him, I said, ‘Man, I’ve got more respect for you than anybody in the game,’ and that’s a fact,” Brown said. “That’s true, man. I actually picked Diego to be champion way back in the day when he was in the UFC. I thought he would beat B.J. Penn when he fought for that title. I’ve been a huge fan of his since then.
“I was watching The Ultimate Fighter 1 with him on it and cheering him on. I think I even had King of Cage (videos) with him before he was even on The Ultimate Fighter, and I was loving the guy. I can’t say enough good things about Diego. There’s nobody else I would less rather do it to.”
“I’ve definitely had more people tell me not to retire than to retire, that’s for sure,” Brown said. “But to be honest, nobody other than me and my family really has any bearing on that, and close friends. So I’m not even going to allow anybody else’s opinions to get into my mind like that.”