UFC: Mike Brown and the retirement that never was

Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

Former WEC featherweight champion, Mike Brown discusses the miscommunication that led to his supposed retirement, his solution to the injury bug and the legacy he hopes to leave behind when he does finally retire.

When Mike Brown talked about the possibility of retiring last year, he was still very much on the fence about it. He didn't know whether he wanted to continue beating up his body, over training to the point that injuries were plaguing him at every turn. The thing is, all he did was contemplate that notion. He never actually came out and said that he was officially retiring.

Through a miscommunication with team members, the news of his supposed retirement trickled down that nasty old gossip grapevine until Joe Rogan announced it on air after his last fight. I know when I heard the news, I was pretty bummed that I wouldn't be seeing Mike fight anymore. He's held a special place in my heart ever since he mangled Lady GaGa's "Poker Face" song on my radio show a couple years back.

I recently spoke with Brown, who discussed the communication faux pas, the solution to his streak of injuries and the legacy he hopes to leave behind when he actually decides to retire. Here's what he had to say:

The Retirement That Never Was

It was a mess and so confusing. I never retired, but I was thinking about it. I had told my coaches that if I don't feel well in this fight, or if I didn't do well, it was probably going to be my last one. Then, Liborio kind of told people, 'This is the last one', so then it got out there that it was my last fight.

When I fought Pineda, I fought well, and I felt good. That was really the main thing. I felt good out there and I was having fun. I was happy, so I wanted to keep fighting. He (Liborio) had said it, so I think it got to Joe Rogan or Goldie, because they said it on air. That's how everyone heard that I was retiring, but it wasn't the case.

Building the Body Back Up

I mean, it's rough. I just took a year off because I had a neck surgery in September, and that's why I've been out for so long. I feel really good now. I'm already in shape, probably in too good of shape, too early. I've been coaching at ATT, so I'm in the gym twice a day for the practices. When I'm in there, I'm also training, myself. I've never really taken a break, so I'm in really good shape already.

If I would take more time off, I'd probably be healthier. I probably do it backwards. A lot of times, I don't take a break until I'm hurt. I kind of think of it that way, 'I'll just take a vacation when I'm injured.' Maybe I wouldn't get injured if I took more vacations. It's a problem I've always had, but sometimes, it's just bad luck. Maybe it's a genetic trait, because I have a lot of problems with my neck, which might be more of a genetic thing.

Time Left On the Clock

I'm taking it one fight at a time. I'm not sure how long I'll be doing this. Maybe a couple more. I'm having fun and I still have it. I still feel good and I'm training good. That's what's important.

I'm trying to put a string together. I always set small, achievable goals. Right now, it's just to win this fight. If I do, that's a three fight streak. I know I've been out for a little bit, but I'm getting there. If I could win a couple more fights, I'm in position, and maybe I can get back in the Top 10 again, because then I'm opening more doors.

I've just got to put a string of wins together. That's what's most important to me right now. I've started it, but I've got to keep it growing. Two is not enough. Three is much better.

Urijah Faber

The first fight was more satisfying for me. It was more definitive because it was a knockout. Winning the title ... I went from not being the champ to having the world title.That was a really big deal. Defending it was good, but the first time the best. He's done some good things. He relocated in the weight classes and changed some things up. He's on a good roll right now, and doing very well.

There's no chance of meeting him (Urijah) at 135. That just won't happen. I'm happy where I'm at. I think 145 is the weight class I'm best at. I could make 135, but I'd lose muscle mass, and I just think I'm a better fighter at 145. I just feel most comfortable there. This is it for me. I'm not gonna change weight classes to chase a title. If I can't do it at 145, then that will be it for me.

Legacy

Things have gone nearly perfect. I'm really happy with my career. I think I peaked a little too early. The 45'ers were still stuck in the WEC. I wish it had been in the UFC, which is the more prestigious and well known organization. Obviously, there's more money involved there, so it would have set me up financially for a little longer, but I'm there now, and I feel like I have some unfinished business.

I'm maturing all the time as a fighter and as a person. I've been like that for a while, though. I'm guessing in your early thirties, that happens. you just have a different outlook on life than when you were in your twenties. I've felt like a mature fighter for quite some time now. I'm getting near the end, but I want to finish on a really good note. I want to have memorable fights in the UFC. I don't want to be remembered for the fights from other organizations. I want to be remembered for my fights in the UFC.

You can follow Mike Brown via his Twitter account, @MikeBrownMMA

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