Matt Brown entered 2012 with his back against the wall. At UFC on Fox 7 Saturday night in San Jose, he won his fifth straight fight, defeating Jordan Mein via technical knockout in one of the best fights of 2013.
Here's what we learned from the bout.
What We'll Remember about This Fight
Brown vs. Mein was a fight that won't soon be forgotten.
The pair battled back and forth in what was easily one of the best rounds of the year to begin the UFC on Fox 7 main card. Then, in the second frame, they picked up right where they left off before Brown secured a technical knockout just one minute into the second.
What should we remember about this fight? Every second.
What We Learned about Matt Brown
At the end of 2011, Brown had earned a victory in just one of his past five fights. Entering 2012, he needed to rejuvenate his career in order to stick around with the UFC. He did just that, going 4-0 that year.
In his first fight of 2013, we learned that Brown's career resurgence is anything but a fluke.
We also learned that he is easily one of the toughest fighters/brawlers in all of MMA, though we somewhat knew that before. Mein tore through Dan Miller in his last fight and attempted to deliver the same damage to Brown. He did, but "The Immortal" threw it right back.
At 32, Brown's comeback is one of the more improbable in this sport's history, but the 27-fight veteran finds himself a welterweight contender at this late hour in his career.
What We Learned about Jordan Mein
Quite simply, he has the potential to compete at the highest level of the welterweight division.
Yes, Brown stopped him. Yes, Tyron Woodley beat him back in January of 2012. But the 23-year-old fighter has a long, likely successful, road ahead of him.
He has a unique striking style, as one can see with his use of elbows, and he can finish fights, as can be seen in his fight against Dan Miller. He even hurt Brown in the opening frame of their bout and, had he not engaged in a brawl with Brown, had the tools to win this fight.
Mien may have taken a step back Saturday night, but a promising future lies ahead.
What's Next for Brown
On a five-fight winning streak, Brown is ready for a definitive step up in competition. A fight against Josh Koscheck makes sense, but the thought of a matchup against Martin Kampmann would leave most fans salivating.
What's Next for Mein
Mein remains one of the welterweight division's top prospects, and there are plenty of options for him moving forward. A matchup with former middleweight contender Patrick Cote would prove an appropriate billing.
Of course, no one would complain if Brown and Mein danced again in an immediate rematch.