Mike Thomas Brown (21-8), also known as “MTB”, is the former WEC Featherweight Champion. He is the man who soundly defeated former featherweight champ and UFC bantamweight title contender ”The California Kid” Urijah Faber (25-5) not once but twice, steamrolled and bloodied “Bad Boy” Leonard Garcia (15-7), and was on top of the world at 145lbs. and looked to be staying there for a long time. However, his glory was short lived after he crashed back down to Earth following his defeat at the hands of current champion “Junior” Jose Aldo (18-1). Since losing his WEC belt, Brown has gone 3-3 in his last six bouts and just recently returned to the winning side of the fighting game after earning a much needed and hard fought decision over Nam Phan (18-10). Now with his legs back under him, Brown is looking to take on the rest of the UFC featherweight division but in a wise and well planned out onslaught. However, many fans still don’t understand what was causing the feared American Top Team stand-out to seem human. The issue, in Brown’s words, was a case of “bad luck and tough luck”.
After the merger of WEC’s lighter weight classes into the UFC, it was the chance for the stars of the featherweight and bantamweight divisions to show their firepower to the world. UFC 125 started the new year of 2011 off with an explosive and memorial night of fights and was played up as the return of “MTB” against the rising contender “The Gun” Diego Nunes (15-4). Brown, the clear favorite to win, took a strong control over the opening round of the bout, but as the fight wore on he seemed to fade and grow sluggish. Nunes would take the bull by the horns and fight hard to earn a Split Decision victory. Brown is known as one of the hardest working, hardest training members of the American Top Team stronghold and knew he had to return to the cage as soon as possible to get back on track. Twenty-one days later he was given that chance at the second UFC Fight for the Troops event against Jiu-Jitsu stand-out Rani Yahya (15-6). The fight played out the same way as Brown’s bout with Nunes and, as if his fatiguing body wasn’t enough, he injured his right hand in the first round making matters worst. Suffering two straight losses for the first time since 2004, Brown knew he had to do something and took a leave from the cage to figure out what was wrong his body. After surgery on his right finger, Brown began to seek the guidance of several exercise physiologists and cardiologists who all said the same thing: Brown was overtraining and wasn’t giving his body time to heal. The news was hard to swallow.
After cutting back and revamping his training, Brown was on the comeback path to the Octagon and was determined to bring back the machine that is the Mike Brown that the fans witnessed in the WEC. The date was set on August 6 at UFC 133, the man across from him would be Nam Phan. The fight started in traditional “MTB” fashion. He came out strong, firing off with his powerful strikes which not only dropped Phan but bloodied the TUF veteran. The second round began to look bad for Brown as Phan came back strong, but he pushed through and went the distance earning a Unanimous Decision victory. The hard work and limiting of intense training paid off for Brown – his body was no longer overtrained and his spirit was strong. Now he seems ready for more opponents that will send him back to the top of the featherweight mountain.
The effects of overtraining are a serious business to all athletes, professional or not, but extremely important to those who fight in MMA. Small injuries can not heal properly and come back to haunt a fighter when he least expects it. Brown discovered firsthand the effects of overtraining his body when he believed he was making himself stronger.
With proper knowledge tempered by the work ethic he was already known for, “MTB” has begun to recover and improve on the fighter he once was. Brown stated that he wants to take the right amount of time to recover and train smart, saying he doesn’t plan on fighting again until November 2011 or later. None the less, when the speakers sing out that music anthem of every born and raised Southern boy, “Simple Man”, opponents will know that Mike Brown is back and ready for war.