Nam Phan wants to be known as a legitimate fighter.
“Mike is a great fighter and a gentleman in and out of the cage. I respect and look up to him very much. I think I match up very well with him, but what I think is one thing and how I perform is another. So we’ll have to see what I can do. Mike Brown is a former world champion and a very good opponent, so I’m hoping that a victory over Mike will legitimize me as a fighter in the UFC.”
After several impressive performances – including two wins over Urijah Faber – Brown has hit a rough patch. Back to back losses and personal life turmoil have put the ATT fighter’s back against the wall. A third consecutive loss could be bring an end to his time in the UFC.
“That is a concern because he’s very dangerous and he’s not one-dimensional. I’m also coming off a loss, too. I don’t want to lose either, so I have to push the pace. Win or lose the fans are going to see fireworks.”
Phan’s return to the Octagon is 8 months in the making. Following a controversial decision loss to Leonard Garcia at the TUF Finale, Phan was set to get his rematch in March before suffering an injury that forced him out of the bout.
“I don’t think my time away is too much of a concern. I missed a little bit of training, but I’m definitely ready to get back in there.
“I’d like to think I gained some momentum from the Garcia fight. Normally when you are coming off of the TV show you fight someone from the house. I was originally supposed to face Alex Caceres but he pulled out and I ended up fighting a UFC/WEC veteran. I convincingly beat him, but when the decision was announced I lost and it turned into a big deal after that.”
Phan is aware his time on The Ultimate Fighter has sped his career up a great deal, and while there are drawbacks involved, he believes the rewards outweigh the pitfalls.
“I don’t think there were too many negatives coming off of the show. Some MMA fans automatically think you are a lower grade of fighter if you are on the show. I am working hard to show that I am a high level fighter that belongs in the UFC. For the most part being on the show was a positive and it has been easier to get my name out there than it would have been if I had not done “The Ultimate Fighter.”