UFC Fight Night 235’s Randy Brown explains why last-minute UFC 296 withdrawal made sense

LAS VEGAS – Randy Brown is glad the people around intervened before he could follow through with fighting Muslim Salikhov in December.

Brown (17-5 MMA, 11-5 UFC) is scheduled to meet Salikhov (19-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC) on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 235. in a welterweight bout at the UFC Apex (ESPN+). The matchup was originally scheduled for UFC 296 on Dec. 16, but less than 48 hours before the event, Brown was forced to withdraw due to illness.

It was an agonizing decision, Brown said, but ultimately it’s happening six weeks later, and he’s glad he didn’t step into the octagon while badly compromised.

“I was sick, so obviously I’m trying to fight – I wanted to fight through it,” Brown told MMA Junkie and other reporters at Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 235 media day. “Coaches are there obviously to protect you from yourself sometimes. So the typical stuff. I want to go, they’re like, ‘No, you put in all the work.’ You feel like you wasted all that work, wasted all that time, wasted all that money going into a camp. But afterwards, it worked out. It made sense for me not to fight. Because if I fought I wouldn’t have looked good.”

Although Brown, 33, would’ve been willing to move on to another opponent if a rescheduling didn’t materialize, he’s glad to still fight Salikhov.

“I think he’s tremendous,” Brown said. “Explosive guy. A lot of the newer people don’t know much about him, but I know what’s up. I’ve been watching him for a while. He was ranked No. 12 at one point. Dangerous guy. Doesn’t matter the age or nothing like that. Doesn’t matter. I think he’s still the same guy that he’s been and someone that I need to take extremely serious. I think he’s a tough fight for me.”

A winner in five of his past six fights dating back to April 2021, Brown is focused on breaking through to the next tier of the 170-pound division. He thinks he deserves bigger opportunities and aims to prove that much with his performance at UFC Fight Night 235.

“I think it doesn’t matter whoever is in the rankings, I think I should be next up either in the rankings after this, or fighting someone in the rankings after this. But I’ve got to focus on this dude first.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 235.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie