Brian Foster goes in-depth on Matt Brown, living in the fire and much more in this exclusive interview.
It takes exactly two seconds to like Brian Foster.
The Oklahoma native has a rustic charm that comes across as appreciative and genuine. His smile is contagious, his handshake firm, and the scars on his face give you a sense that he’s comfortable in his chosen profession.
Throughout his short career in the UFC, Foster has proven to be a guaranteed show. Even in his two losing efforts, you could see that there’s something special about the kid.
That’s because Brian Foster lives in the fire.
The majority of a fighter’s attributes can be taught or drilled until it’s instinctual, but the ability to stand in the fire and trade punches can’t be learned in any gym. It is one of a fighter’s rarest traits, and it’s what makes Brian Foster tick.
I sat down with Foster at the HIT Squad. We eventually talked about facing Sean Pierson at UFC 129 and what fans may not realize about his fight with Matt Brown, but we started by talking about that instinct to stand in the pocket and trade.
“Honestly, it isn’t something that can be taught. Marc Fiore tells me all of the time that being able to do that – to stand there and touch the barrel – is something you are born with. I was raised in a different sort of way where you weren’t given what you wanted, and if there was something you wanted you had to go after it. That’s just who I am.”
“A lot of guys are scared to get hit or they fear it so much that they game plan to the teeth to make sure that doesn’t happen. But I’m not like other fighters. I don’t mind it as much. It’s a Rocky type motivation where it’s not how hard you get hit, but how hard you can get it and keep stepping forward. I have no fear of it because I know that it’s part of my job. And if he lands a shot on me and drops his other hand while he’s doing it, I’m right there to capitalize on that mistake. A lot of guys will hit you and drop their other hand just an inch too far and that’s the only window I need. I’m a counter puncher and an aggressive one on top of that. That’s my style. I finish you, or you finish me.”
Foster has shown growth in recent fights. He scored a TKO victory over Forrest Petz, but it was his most recent outing against Matt Brown that brought out intense personal feelings for Foster.
“Things got a little bit personal. Things usually tend to be said inside of camps and those things leak out. Some of the things he said got out because some of the people he trains with know some of the guys I train with. Brown was saying that he didn’t respect my game and that I didn’t have any heart. He said that he didn’t respect my stand-up and that he could and would beat me anywhere and everywhere the fight went. Small things that some people might brush off, but those are the things that I take personally.”
“Saying that I have no heart? Brother I’m all heart. I fight with my emotions on my sleeve and I feel that I’m one of the few fighters in the UFC that can do that. If you go back and watch my fights, you see that moment where I get angry is when they get close to ending. You piss me off and here we go. My anger doesn’t mean bad things for me. A lot of other fighters deviate from their game plans when they get angry and it leads to their undoing. I get mad and I get violent. It runs into who I am as a person and as a fighter and Matt Brown pissed me off, and Matt Brown got finished for it.”
UFC fans started to take notice of the fast-paced style that Foster brings. As a reward for his performance, the UFC called to ask Foster if he wanted a bout with Pierson on the UFC 129 card in Toronto.
“I definitely think that Sean has more pressure going into this fight than I have. He’s wanted to fight in front of his hometown crowd for so long. I don’t see it being a problem for me. I’ve been a lot of different places and fought guys in their hometowns so it’s another fight for me.”
“It all comes down to the fact that everyone wants to see a great fight. Everyone wants to be entertained and they want two guys who are going to go out there and go after it. I tend to think that Pierson and I are going to be one of the best on the card based on how our styles compare and because of what this means to both of us. I don’t feel any added pressure going into Toronto and that is all going to fall on him.”
“This has ‘Fight of the Night’ written all over it. If you look at some of the things he is saying, it shows that he’s wanting to come in with more of a game plan than he has before. He wants to win first and foremost because of where the fight is taken place. I don’t see him wanting to stand with me for too long. Sean’s a pretty intelligent individual and I just don’t see him wanting to stand and trade with me.”
“I think he is going to want to get this thing to the ground as quickly as possible and I’m prepared for that as well. I have some great coaches and I have my jiu-jitsu coach Kyle Watson, who I know could submit him anywhere. So I tend to think that this camp has prepared me to be dangerous if it goes there so there is not a doubt in my mind that I’m ready and if we hit the mat it’s going to be intense. It doesn’t matter if it’s standing up or on the ground. I’m finishing this fight, period.”
Foster realizes just how historic UFC 129 will be. But April 30 holds a place in his heart, and it’s not just because of his fight. Foster’s younger brother passed away during a tragic hiking accident on the same day. They were inseparable, but Foster says his brother remains the driving force behind his fighting career.