UFC Fight Night 40: 5 Fights for Matt Brown to Take Next

Matthew Ryder@@matthewjryderFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 2014

UFC Fight Night 40: 5 Fights for Matt Brown to Take Next

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    With his utterly mind-blowing win over Erick Silva at UFC Fight Night 40, Ohio native and hometown hero Matt Brown put the world on notice.

    Doubters, keep doubting: He's not going anywhere.

    Brown looked unbelievable in picking up his seventh straight UFC win, overcoming some early trouble before turning it on and pulling away in a fashion not often seen in the Octagon. While many have questioned the quality of his opponents during his lengthy unbeaten run, the way he beat Silva might be the thing to put him over the top and get him into the mix for some serious names.

    Here are some options that are out there for him.

Tarec Saffiedine

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    Tarec Saffiedine is an interesting proposition for Brown. The Belgian represents a step up in competition from Silva and the like but is perhaps not on the level of the very best in the 170-pound weight class. Still, he's a former Strikeforce welterweight champion with an engaging, fan-friendly style and the type of guy who would be a very fair test for Brown.

    Should Brown win that fight, he'd have added marketability in beating a credible former champion, and unless he's getting the next title shot, he may have to wait awhile anyway.

    This fight could fill that time nicely.

Dong Hyun Kim

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    Dong Hyun Kim is another interesting opponent for Brown, as the Korean holds a tight split decision over him from years back. Needless to say, both men are different fighters now and have serious momentum in the welterweight division.

    The only issue with pairing the two now is that it's at best a lateral move for Brown, as he would fight down in rank once again against an opponent who offers little cache with a win. At this point, he needs to square off against bigger names, higher ranked guys or opponents who have held titles in the UFC or other promotions.

    Kim is none of those things, even if he makes sense on merit. The UFC could go this route, but Brown has probably earned better.

Hector Lombard

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    USA TODAY Sports

    In terms of making a contender, this fight makes the most sense. Hector Lombard is lurking on the fringe of the Top Five just as Brown is, and the Cuban is currently without a dance partner.

    There's also the fact that—though they're about as different as two men can be in terms of physical appearancetheir styles have a lot in common. Both are violent strikers with substantial grappling chops and the unique capacity to implement judo in MMA. The only difference is that Lombard starts fast, while Brown comes on late, but that can provide incredible results based on the Silva fight.

    There's plenty to like about this one, and with the caveat that the winner gets Johny Hendricks immediately afterward, it would definitely draw eyes.

Nick Diaz

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Yes, Nick Diaz is retired. No, there's no time frame for his return.

    But he has said he'd be interested in coming back for the right fight, and frankly, if you're not interested in this as a fan, you don't have a pulse. Really the only party in question is Diaz, and whether or not he thinks Brown might be intriguing enough to lace up the gloves for.

    This fight would be the pinnacle of MMA: two warriors who can do it all but choose the most explosive, fistic assault imaginable in hopes of breaking the spirit of their opponent. To call this a dogfight doesn't do it justice, as game-bred dogs don't have one-tenth of the desire to maul that these two do.

    Don't think so? Look at Diaz's bout with Paul Daley or relive Brown's fight with Silva while it's still fresh on your DVR.

    If this is bookable, there are no losers: Diaz would get the type of fight he likes, Brown could rocket into stardom with a win, the UFC can cash in, and the fans would enjoy the type of guaranteed war that is not often promised in modern MMA.

    Hard to see a reason not to like that.

Loser of Rory MacDonald vs. Tyron Woodley

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    USA TODAY Sports

    In terms of a fight that would truly legitimize Brown, getting in there with someone whom many perceive to be coming off a contender's fight is about as good as it can get. Be it Rory MacDonald or Tyron Woodley—probably the two hottest contenders at 170 right nowthe loser of their UFC 174 meeting would be a good fit for "The Immortal."

    Should he win, he would instantly become undeniable as a top contender, particularly if the MacDonald vs. Woodley winner is actually booked for the next title shot. If it's good enough for that guy, there's no argument against it being good enough for Brown too.

    If a top-flight signature win is what detractors say he's lacking, Brown could do no better than taking on MacDonald or Woodley in the fall.


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