It took Mike Brown several years in mixed martial arts to find his place in the sport, but he’s certainly found it now.
He began his career in 2001 with a debut victory at “Mass Destruction 1” and quickly amassed a 9-1 record during his first 10 professional fights. However, in 2004 Brown lost his UFC debut to Genki Sudo via submission and did not return to the promotion.
By 2007, Brown passed many of his road blocks, and put together a string of wins that landed him in the UFC’s sister promotion World Extreme Cagefighting. On June 1 of 2008, Brown was matched up against MMA veteran Jeff Curran in a featherweight fight. The WEC-newcomer grinded out a decision victory and earned the greatest opportunity of his career, a title shot against 145-pound king Urijah Faber.
Few gave Brown a chance to stun the longtime champion, but a strong right hand in first round flattened Faber, and Brown pounded his way to the featherweight championship. While many still doubted the American Top Teamer, Brown immediately turned around in dominant fashion, submitting top contender Leonard Garcia in the very first round.
The victory gave Brown what many had anticipated, and on June 7, 2008 the featherweight champion stared across the cage at Urijah Faber, with an opportunity to silence all of the doubters. The two grinded the fight out for five complete rounds, and Brown walked away with the unanimous decision victory and the belt around his waist. The victory secured Brown as the legitimate featherweight champion he always knew he was, but little did he know his third title defense would end so poorly.
Brown faced off at WEC 44 against the dynamic striker Jose Aldo with his featherweight title on the line. Aldo dictated the pace from the very beginning, outstriking Brown and manhandling him at every opportunity. In the second round, the fight hit the ground and Brown gave up his back. Aldo pounded his way to the victory and pried the belt from the hands of Brown, sending the defeated champion back to the drawing boards.
But the former champion wasted no time getting back to his winning ways. Just five months after the biggest loss in his career, Brown decimated Anthony “Cheesesteak” Morrison at WEC 46, walking away with a rear naked choke victory and ever-closer to a shot at redemption.
And that brings us the where Mike Brown stands now. Just one fight removed from his trouncing at the hands of the current champ Aldo, he is set to face off against Manny Gamburyan at WEC 48 this weekend, live on pay-per-view.
The match up is just another stepping stone for Brown on his way back up the ladder to the featherweight title. But after he inches closer towards redemption with a win, or further backwards with a loss, he will have the opportunity to see Faber, the man he beat twice, compete for the featherweight belt against the new champion.
Watching “The California Kid” battle for the featherweight title will certainly give Brown the complete desire to earn back his featherweight gold. Regardless of who walks out of the cage with the belt at WEC 48, Brown will be watching, waiting, and preparing to win back his 145-pound title in the promotion he calls his home.