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Matt Brown: I’m not coming back unless I’m making a run for the UFC title

Matt Brown isn’t totally closing the doors on his career just yet, even after announcing that his upcoming fight in November would be his last.

This November, Matt Brown will be taking on his 37th professional fight against fellow veteran Diego Sanchez in Norfolk, Virginia. But last week, he announced that this will be his retirement fight, after 12 years of competing professionally.

“The Immortal” never really gave any concrete reason for his decision to finally walk away from the sport, until Monday, when he spoke to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. According to him, the realizations first kicked in right before his UFC 206 fight against Donald Cerrone last December, where he lost via third round head kick knockout.

“Maybe that wasn’t necessarily when I first felt it, but that was when I came to the realization that it’s something I should start really thinking about,” Brown said (via MMA Fighting). “Because when I was sitting in the locker room, it literally crossed my mind to not even walk out. I thought about just walking outside, getting an Uber, going back to the hotel and just being done with it. It wasn’t out of fear, it wasn’t out of nerves, it was just no excitement. I was kind of tired, a little bored. And just like, ‘Man, I don’t know if I feel like doing this right now.’”

“I got knocked out for the first time in my life in my last fight,” Brown added. “Got knocked down for the first time in my life before that. I have to wonder if - you know, I had a concussion last year for the first time.”

“All these first time things start happening 40 fights into my career, as a father and a family to go home to, when I’m slurring words to my kids, you start thinking, ‘How much is it worth all this?’ So that definitely plays a part, but it’s not necessarily my primary concern though. It’s not my primary motivation to retire, but it is a piece of the puzzle for sure.”

The 36-year-old Brown did clarify that he is leaving the door open for a return sometime in the future, but it has to be for the right opportunity.

“I didn’t get into this to be a journeyman, or to be in second place, I came into this to be a champion and I got very, very close to that, I think I was one round away from beating Robbie Lawler and getting to a title shot,” Brown said. “Being that I got that close, right now, I don’t feel like I have that hunger inside my heart that’s going to get me back to that point and that’s not to say I won’t ever come back one day.”

“I don’t plan on pulling out of the USADA testing pool and I don’t plan on canceling my UFC contract because I’d like to keep that just in case there. But I’m not going to come back unless I plan on making a run for the title.”

UFC Norfolk will take place on November 11th, and will be headlined by a lightweight fight between Dustin Poirier and former champion Anthony Pettis.