Randy Brown clearly remembered the day he wrote down his goals for a career in mixed martial arts.
Jamaican-born Brown, who lives in Queens, has achieved all but one of them so far in his four-plus years of competitive fighting. He’s won an amateur title, turned pro, won a pro title, defended his pro title, then reached the UFC. Last on that list?
“Become champion there,” Brown said.
He has a way to go for that in a deep welterweight division. Brown debuted in the UFC in January 2016 in New Jersey. Back then, when asked about the potential of MMA being legalized in his home state of New York, Brown said he’d rather fight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn instead of Madison Square Garden.
Another goal accomplished as Brown will fight Belal Muhammed at UFC 208 on Saturday.
“I said Barclays would be a big dream of mine, and then almost exactly a year later, here I am,” Brown said. “You know how much family I got in Brooklyn?”
Brown was scheduled to fight George Sullivan, but the latter was removed from the card two weeks ago after being notified by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency of a potential anti-doping violation in an out-of-competition test.
That left Brown opponent-less for a fight in his hometown and the UFC scrambling to find a replacement.
“We prepare ourselves every time,” Brown said about a short-notice opponent change. “It’s not about the opponent. It’s more so about ourselves. If we’re performing and doing what we’re supposed to be doing and being where we’re supposed to be at, we’re not really concerned about opponents.”
Brown remains goal-oriented, both in the short term — Saturday night in the headliner on the FS1 prelims — and long term. If 2016 was his year to gain UFC experience with three wins in four fights, he wants 2017 to be something more substantial.
“My goal for this year is I want to become a contender,” said Brown, who trains at Budokan Martial Arts in Lynbrook. “Win fights, become established in the UFC, plant my flag like I’m here. Saying I’m here, I belong here, let the division feel my presence.”
Brown (9-1, 3-1 UFC) entered the welterweight division as a touch more than an unknown. He was one of the first handful of fighters to be discovered by Dana White and Matt Serra on their online reality series “Lookin’ for a Fight.”
That gave the 6-3 Brown something of a name among the more plugged-in fans of the sport. Brown, 26, wants more than that and he’s ready to work for it.
“Even though the guys have got stardom and fame from that, guys like Mickey Gall and Sage Northcutt,” Brown said, “I feel like I’m the only guy that’s just been in the back, that’s really been putting in the work. That’s fine and all. I feel as if I’ll earn it the real way and the hard way. At the end of the day, I want to establish myself here, not just as one of the guys off the show.”