Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight, the popular show on YouTube, has been responsible for scouting some of the UFC’s biggest prospects, including Mickey Gall and Sage Northcutt.
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However getting to the UFC isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, as UFC Greenville’s Randy Brown (10-4) has learned after a rollercoaster seven fights in the promotion. The Jamaican is gearing up for his eighth Octagon appearance and is planning to ruin Bryan Barberena’s plans on June 22.
He spoke to John Hyon Ko of The Body Lock about his scheduled fight and why he has had such a long layoff.
Preparing for war
As Rascal Flatts once said, “Life is a Highway,” and so is being employed by the biggest mixed martial arts organization in the world.
It is a common misconception that once you make it to the big league, life sorts itself out, and you begin making money and getting title shots. That could not be further from the truth. Look no further than Hall of Famer Michael Bisping, who scratched and clawed his way to a short notice title shot after spending more than a decade in the company, or Tony Ferguson, who is yet to receive an official shot at the lightweight crown despite winning his last 11 bouts.
Randy Brown was discovered on the first ever episode of Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight, where he impressed White with a first-round knockout. This extended the Jamaican’s record to 6-0, and he had the Ring of Combat welterweight title to show for it. White was impressed and signed him to the promotion in 2016.
Three years on, and Brown has struggled to find consistency inside the Octagon. The 28-year-old has gone 4-3 in his UFC career, most notably handing fellow prospect Mickey Gall his first professional loss.
In his last outing, “Rude Boy” was finished via Niko Price, who was firing shots off his back. The bizarre knockout caught the MMA world by storm; Brown commented on the knockout loss that occurred last July.
“I felt like I never got to showcase all of my improvements. I’m constantly getting better [and] always working to become the best version of myself.”
Despite the loss, he went straight back to the gym and continued to improve his ever-growing skillset.
Earlier in the year the UFC visited Brooklyn and held its very first event on ESPN. Randy, who was scheduled to face Chance Rencountre, suddenly pulled out of the fight for undisclosed reasons.
He opened up as to why he never fought in his hometown on January 19.
“That was tough, that was so annoying. It was what it was and the commission never let me fight” he said. “I didn’t get cleared in time and technically it wasn’t my fault because the paperwork that was supposed to be done actually expired.”
“I couldn’t do anything about it but just get back to work. I’ve been in this long ass camp now and as you can probably tell I’m f*ckin over it. I’m ready to go in, throw hands and get back to doing what I love.”
His opponent, Bryan Barberena (14-6), is coming off of a contender for ‘Fight of the Year,’ and although he lost the bout he put on a show for everybody watching. Barberena is a well rounded mixed martial artist, who loves nothing more than to stand and bang. But he also has the ability to make an opponent submit, just like he did to Sage Northcutt.
“I know he’s tough, I know he’s a grinder,” stated Brown. “I just don’t see the technical prowess in him. I don’t think it’s going to go well for him.”
To be the best, you’ve got to train with the best
High-level training partners are an essential part of a combat sports athletes camp. No matter what fighter you speak to, the likelihood of them having an elite wrestler or striker at the heart of their gym is high. It is no different for Randy Brown.
Brown trains with one of the best wrestlers in the UFC today, Gregor Gillespie, who is a man many believe will hand current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov his first loss.
“He’s a f*cking savage,” exclaimed the 28-year-old when talking about his teammate Gillespie, who is a force to be reckoned with.
With a wrestler like Gillespie as a teammate, the wrestling of “Rude Boy” will have improved tremendously since his last outing, and his opponent will have to be wary when considering grappling him.
A few weeks ago Sage Northcutt, a highly-touted prospect in the world of mixed martial arts, was viciously knocked out in under 30 seconds while making his promotional debut for ONE Championship. The Karate-based Northcutt was rushed into surgery as his cheek had splintered into 30 pieces, an orbital bone was broken and had 8 different facial fractures; all from one punch.
Scenarios such as this one convey how ruthless the fight game can be. It takes no prisoners.
As a fellow mixed martial artist, Brown shared his opinion on the matter and sent his best regards to the recovering Northcutt.
“I’m wishing him a speedy recovery. That’s the game and its an unforgiving game. He’s young, he’ll be back.”
“Anybody can get caught, anybody can get KOd, but you don’t want to hear that somebody’s their face broken up like that. It’s life altering.”
The fight game is all about growing and learning as an athlete and a human being; the pressures of it can often mess with young fighters minds, but for Randy Brown, it’s all necessary when wanting to achieve goals.
“It’s all about development and how fast you can develop. And when you can fight, the right times and working on your injuries and all that kind of stuff.”
“I’m starting to understand that that’s where I’m at now. Play chess, not checkers.”
Randy Brown is looking to bounce back into the win column with a victory over Bryan Barberena. June 22 – mark the date in your calendar, folks.
Randy Brown vs. Bryan Barberena is scheduled for UFC Greenville on June 22.
Steven specialises in MMA and Lethwei. He loves a good 1-2 down the middle.