UFC 133: Can Mike Brown Get Back into the Featherweight Title Picture?

Andrew BarrCorrespondent IAugust 6, 2011

Former WEC Featherweight Champion Mike Brown has been going through his rough patch in his career.

After losing his championship to Jose Aldo back in 2009, Mike went 2-3 in his next five fights, dropping fights to competitors that many fans thought he should be able to defeat.

At UFC 133, Brown faced off against a Nam Phan in what was a "do or die" fight for the former champion.

Nam is a relatively new addition to the UFC, and so a loss to him would have been devastating for Mike.

Refusing to totally relinquish his relevancy, Brown went out and fought a hard fight, using his grappling skills to edge out a unanimous decision victory.

It's safe to say that Brown can breath a sigh of relief after the victory, but where does he go from here?

There is no doubt that Mike would like to get himself back into the title picture, but does he have what it takes at this point in his career to compete with the best.

During Brown's fight with Phan, UFC commentator Joe Rogan talked about how MMA's lighter divisions tend to be dominated by younger fighters due to the importance of speed and quickness in those weight classes.

Mike is 35 years old, 11 years older than the reigning featherweight champion Jose Aldo, and so, he is likely going to have a speed disadvantage anytime he fights at 145 lbs.

That said, it's not an impossible feat for Brown to make it back to the top of his division.

The UFC's 145 lbs. weight class is arguably the weakest in the promotion and currently does not have many potential title contenders.

If Mike wants to get back in the title picture, there are two things he definitely needs to do.

First, he needs to continue to fight as often as possible. Father time is not on his side, so he must fight regularly in order to keep in shape and get to the top of the division before his abilities deteriorate any further.

Second, he has to work hard on his wrestling. In many of his most recent fights, Brown's opponents have been to outclass him standing by using superior speed. Mike could neutralize his speed disadvantages by putting his opponents on their backs, which is what we saw him do against Nam.

Based on his performance tonight, it seems unlikely that Brown will make his way back into the title picture.

However, one half of UFC 133's main event, Tito Ortiz, is proof that you can never count a fighter out, especially if they're a former champion.