HOBOKEN, N.J. – Randy Brown always knew he would be in the UFC, but few could have seen his rise happening in this fashion.
The New York-born, Jamaica-raised Brown is the latest product of the UFC’s new reality show, “Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight.” After being signed following his win in the Ring of Combat welterweight championship with White in attendance, Brown (6-0) is ready to fight at UFC on Fox 18 in Newark on Saturday against Matt Dwyer (8-3, 1-2 UFC).
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While his first fight in the Octagon is happening a bit sooner than he expected, it’s a moment Brown says is a long time coming after grinding his way through life.
“Definitely knew I would be in the UFC, it was just a matter of time,” said Brown, 25. “Never would have thought in a million years that it would happen in a couple months, like two months later.”
Brown’s confidence comes from what he calls “character builders” in his life, including moving from New York to Jamaica at age 4, returning at 15 and splitting time between in the 10 years since.
“It was tough, but you know what, it was a character builder,” Brown said of his upbringing. “It made me who I am today and I’m grateful for it, and if I had to live it all over again I’d do it. It made me a better man, tough, being able to handle things under pressure.”
Today, Brown fights out of Jamaica, Queens. But his days boxing in gyms on the island of Jamaica helped mold the tough, technical fighter he’s become.
“It’s a little more gritty, it’s a little less equipment” Brown said. “There’s dirt, a lot of dirt on the ground instead of concrete or nice canvas, but it’s a character builder, so I like it.”
Things didn’t get easier when he began training mixed martial arts in New York, but Brown was able to lean on the local community to get to where he is now.
“Being that I was so hungry, people saw that I was so hungry for it and always gave me opportunities,” Brown said. “Like at Renzo Gracie Academy, I cleaned the mat for years just to be able to train and pay my dues. They pretty much just took me under their wing there.
“Same thing with my sensei, Nardu. He took me in over at Budokan Martial Arts Academy and I actually lived there for four years, I was homeless for four years and just grinded it out, man. Stayed there, cleaned up the place, slept on the mats, and just grinded it, did what I did and now, here I am.”
While Brown has plenty of people in his corner from throughout the years, he doesn’t worry about the pressure of letting anybody down.
“I’ve always had everyone with all attention on me and everyone helping me out because everyone sees the potential in me,” Brown said. “And I never feel anything under pressure because of that.”
And with his UFC debut not too far away, he believes everyone to have their attention on him once again Saturday night.
“I’m expecting Jersey, New York, Queens, everybody,” Brown said. “Especially from my neighborhood, all my people, I expect all my Jamaican people to be there, and a lot of people will be watching from home as well.”