Randy Brown has been eagerly anticipating his breakthrough into the welterweight rankings, and his impressive victory at UFC Fight Night 235 may pave the way for it.
Brown (18-5 MMA, 12-5 UFC) secured his sixth win in his last seven fights on Saturday with a first-round knockout of Muslim Salikhov (19-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC) at the UFC Apex. His only defeats in the past five years were against Jack Della Maddalena and Vicente Luque. Now, he is eyeing another opportunity to climb the ranks in the weight class.
Chiesa presents that chance, according to Brown. The winner of “The Ultimate Fighter 15” is currently ranked No. 14 in the latest official UFC rankings but has only fought once since November 2021. Due to this lack of activity, Brown believes it’s time for Chiesa to either defend his ranking or relinquish it.
“I just always thought we would be a good matchup for years,” Brown expressed to 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.”
Fortunately for Brown, Chiesa (18-7 MMA, 11-7 UFC) was present as a desk analyst at UFC Fight Night 235. They met backstage after Brown’s victory, and he revealed that they had a respectful discussion about a potential future showdown.
“We’re trying to get it done,” Brown stated. “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, at 33, Brown will savor the success of another productive night. His victory over Salikhov marked his first knockout win since June 2019, and he emphasized that it showcased his best abilities.
“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.”