Brown (18-5 MMA, 12-5 UFC) earned his sixth victory in his past seven fights on Saturday when he scored a blistering first-round knockout of Muslim Salikhov (19-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC) at the UFC Apex. His only losses in the past five years have come to Jack Della Maddalena and Vicente Luque, and now he wants another chance to join the upper tier of the weight class.
Chiesa represents that opportunity, Brown said. “The Ultimate Fighter 15” winner is No. 14 in the latest official UFC rankings, but has only fought once since November 2021. Because of that lack of activity, Brown said it’s time for Chiesa to fight or surrender his ranking.
“I just always thought we would be a good matchup for years,” Brown told MMA Junkie and other reporters post-fight at UFC Fight Night 235. “These are the guys that I’ve been watching. These are guys that when I grew up watching MMA as an amateur, that I’ve seen in ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ and I’ve got a ton of respect for them. I just think you have to defend your ranking. As someone established in the rankings – or, as you say, ‘a contender’ – you can’t just rest on your laurels. This isn’t a shot to him or anything, but I just feel like he doesn’t fight as consistent as he should.
“If I’m a contender coming up and I’m looking at these guys and I’m like, ‘Who can I realistically get a matchup with?’ and the guys that aren’t fighting – you’ve got to do something to prove you belong in that spot. I feel like he’s one of the guys that don’t fight enough, so I just locked in on him.”
To Brown’s fortune, Chiesa (18-7 MMA, 11-7 UFC) was working as a desk analyst at UFC Fight Night 235. They crossed paths in the backstage area after Brown’s win, and he said they respectfully discussed a future showdown.
“We’re trying to get it done,” Brown said. “He said maybe UFC 300 is a little too soon for him, but he wants to do it. If he’s a man of his word, which I think he is, hopefully the UFC can come to something or we can go to the UFC and work it out. We’ll see.”
For now, Brown, 33, will revel in the triumph of another successful night of work. He finish of Salikhov marked his first knockout win since June 2019, and Brown said it was one of the stronger representations of his best ability.
“I was prepared for a scrap,” Brown said. “But I knew if I came in and I was healthy and I could get off all the things that I trained for, that I could get the finish.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 235.