Former WEC Champ Mike Brown “Moving in the Right Direction” Heading Into Bout With Daniel Pineda
By Kelsey Mowatt
After competing three times in 2011, Mike Brown’s 2012 campaign is off to a slow start, as by the time he takes on Daniel Pineda at UFC 146 nearly ten months will have gone by since the decorated fighter last fought. As is often the case, however, the extended layoff wasn’t intentional, as Brown was originally scheduled to fight Vagner Rocha back in January.
“I’ve just had some injuries,” said Brown. “Five weeks before I was supposed to fight Rocha I tore the cartilage in my knee and needed surgery to clean that up. It was nothing major, but it was right in the middle of my camp and I wouldn’t have been able to compete. Got the knee cleaned up and I’m good to go.”
Although Brown is clearly excited to be getting back in the cage, after fighting nine times since the conclusion of 2008, injuries aside, the 36 year-old fighter was ready for a break.
“I wanted some time off,” Brown told Full Contact Fighter. “I was always rushing, and people were always saying ‘oh, you’re not getting any younger so try to fit them all in as fast as you can,’ so I was like blasting off all these fights…I wasn’t competing as well.”
“It wasn’t working; I was doing better when I wasn’t fighting so many times a year,” Brown added. “So that’s what I’m doing now. Just taking my time….Hopefully my body will feel better and I’ll have less injuries.”
The extended break came after Brown’s unanimous decision victory over Nam Phan last August, to end the American Top Team fighter’s two fight losing streak.
“It’s easier to relax when you’re coming off a win,” Brown conceded. “When you lose, I don’t really want to take time off. It’s like the old saying, ‘You’re only as good as your last fight,’ so if my last one has been a loss, I don’t want that to be the last taste in my mouth. I want to be on the winning track and have a good performance.”
“It’s just terrible having to tell the story a thousand times,” the featherweight furthered, who before facing Phan had dropped decision losses to Diego Nunes and Rani Yahya. “Hey, how ya been? When was your last fight? What happened?’ When your last fight was a loss it’s not fun to tell that story all the time.”
Now, Brown will focus his energy on defeating Daniel Pineda (17-7), who has scored wins over Pat Schilling and Mackens Semerzier in the Octagon to extend his winning streak to seven.
“I had never heard of him, and quickly looked at his record and thought ‘Oh wow, he’s tough,” said Brown, while recalling his reaction upon finding out he would face the 26 year-old Pineda. “The only reason I hadn’t heard of him was because his UFC fights happened to be on the prelims and I didn’t catch those ones…it was just one of those things.”
Not only has Pineda won seven bouts in a row, but all 17 of his pro victories have come via submission, TKO or knockout.
“He has good punching power; he throws hard and is always looking to finish,” Brown said about Pineda. “He goes for a lot submissions and is very active on the bottom, leglocks, things like that. He’s very aggressive.”
“I think it’s the same for his losses,” Brown noted. “I think all of his losses have come via knockout or submission, so he’s very fast paced, throws caution to the wind and likes to get at it.”
Although Brown has gone 3-3 since he lost the WEC title to Jose Aldo in November, 2009, the accomplished fighter is confident that he can reach the top of the division once again.
“The game-plan has been to put a string of wins together,” said Brown. “You can’t do anything with one or two, you need to win three or four fights in a row to get anywhere, and I’m moving in the right direction…Right now it’s get this win and after that put a couple more together.”
photo courtesy mikebrownmma.com