Coming Off Injury, Nam Phan Says Mike Brown Is No “Warm Up Fight”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Former “Ultimate Fighter” competitor Nam Phan is chomping at the bit to fight tomorrow night at UFC 133 in Philadelphia, but the featherweight admits that when he found out who his first opponent in eight months would be, he had some reservations.
“I was getting back from a broken foot, and matchmaker Sean Shelby called me and said ‘okay Nam Phan I have a fight for you’,” Phan recalled to FCF. “I was like, ‘yes, who is it?’ And he said ‘Mike…Brown.’ I said ‘Mike Brown? What the heck? This is my warm up fight? I just got back from a broken foot. That’s a really tough fight.”
“I took a few steps back, thought about it, and then said ‘you know what? I can do this,” Phan added. “I’m really excited.”
Of course, Brown (24-8) has long been regarded one of the world’s top featherweight fighters, due to notable wins over Urijah Faber (twice), Jeff Curran, Leonard Garcia, and his time as WEC champion. The 35 year-old-veteran has struggled as of late, however, and has just two wins in his last five fights.
“I’ve been preparing for the best Mike Brown,” Phan acknowledged. “Mike’s really good. He has a lot of experience, a lot of power in his hands and really aggressive jiu-jitsu, but I think I’ll be able to solve the problem. I can figure out the puzzle of Mike Brown.”
Phan (16-8) mentioned his foot injury, which forced him to withdraw from his scheduled rematch with Leonard Garcia in March, after he lost by split decision to the veteran at the TUF 12 Finale last December. As a result, the BJJ black belt has yet to compete in 2011.
“I can’t get a break right? I get on “The Ultimate Fighter,” lose by split decision, break my foot and get a super tough fight,” said Phan. “It is what it is; I just have to prove myself now.
“I don’t care about fighting Leonard Garcia anymore,” Phan added while discussing the fact he’s ready to move on from the controversial decision. “I think I proved my point in the first fight. I don’t have any animosity against Leonard; it’s behind me now. It’s time to move on to the next chapter of my life.”
Phan’s MMA career has contained many chapters, as since the 28 year-old-fighter began competing professionally in 2001, he’s fought for numerous organizations including King of the Cage, the WEC, Sengoku and Strikeforce.
“Since I’ve been with the UFC my career has really advanced,” said Phan while discussing what TUF has done for his career. “It’s cool to get the recognition after ten years of competing.”
A win over a former champion like Brown would unquestionably heighten the recognition Phan has been receiving, and open doors to other high profile bouts.
“I hope that this will be one closer step to a title shot,” said Phan, who is hoping to fight one more time in 2011 before the year is out. “I believe I’ll be able to beat Mike Brown and get some more big name fights you know?”
“I guarantee that there will be a lot of fireworks between Mike and I. Win or lose, there are going to be a lot of bombs thrown.”
Saturday’s UFC 133 card will be hosted by Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center. The Phan, Brown bout will be available for viewing via Facebook.