UFC president Dana White didn’t sound to ready to proclaim Matt Brown the No. 1 contender to the welterweight title. Brown earned his seventh consecutive victory – and fifth straight finish – Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 40 when he defeated Erick Silva.
However, with the division currently locked up as champion Johny Hendricks recovers from surgery, the UFC still needs to see how things play out. Contenders Rory MacDonald and Tyron Woodley are scheduled to meet later this year, and several others have laid claim to the next contender line.
“I was just talking to him about that,” said White, during a post-fight interview on FOX Sports 1, when asked who Brown might fight next. “I told him, ‘Let me get home and figure it out.’ He’s not there yet because he was injured. We’re going to give him something big, maybe Hector Lombard is next.”
Last December, Brown was scheduled to face former interim champion Carlos Condit before a back injury scrapped the contest. Lombard is coming off a victory over Jake Shields earlier this year and is a former Bellator champion.
One fighter Brown likely doesn’t have to worry about stepping inside the Octagon against is Nick Diaz. Despite a large push on social media platforms for Brown-Diaz, the boss doesn’t see it happening.
“There’s no sign of Diaz,” he said. “Until they call me, both are not fighting. Nate will come back before Nick. Nick is still saying he’s retired.”
But all that is for the future. On this night, White was left in awe by the performance Brown and Silva put on inside his Octagon. Brown recovered from nearly being finished in the first to put the Brazilian away in the third.
“That was one of the best first rounds I’ve ever seen,” he said. “Brown ate those body shots like a champ. Those were brutal. The kid is becoming a big star, but he’s a huge star in Cincinnati (Saturday).”
Front-Page Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale