Five Minutes With Team Iridium’s TJ Brown
LAS VEGAS — “Downtown” TJ Brown is riding high. The Arkansas-based featherweight contender earned his first UFC victory in May with a thrilling decision over Kai Kamaka III in Las Vegas. But the Iridium Sports Agency client’s road to this moment has been a long time coming. He recently spent five minutes with Iridium’s Ed Kapp.
Do you remember your 2013 professional MMA debut well?
(Laughs) Oh man, you’re trying to break my heart, dude. Right out of the gate, you’re going to break my heart. I was undefeated as an amateur, 10-0. I took this pro fight on two weeks notice. I underestimated my opponent. I broke my hand, had a mental lapse, and I got the crap beat out of me for the next round before my coach threw in the towel.
Could it have gone any worse?
No, dude. At the time, my heart was broken. There was so much hype behind me, and I felt like I was invincible. I realized very quickly that I wasn’t (invincible) and that you have to prepare for fights accordingly. Bad things are going to happen in fights, so you have to learn how to mentally adjust and move past them. Ultimately it made me the fighter I am today.
How did you rebound from it at the time?
It was tough for me on a lot of levels. A lot of people who I thought were my friends and supporters, they were gone after I lost. It really put me in a place where I was alone. It made me dig down deep and realize who I was as a fighter, and it really made me a better man. You have to put the work in, you have to take things seriously, and you have to prepare your best to be ready at all times.
How do you compare that situation to losing your first two UFC fights?
They were both gut-wrenching moments, but the UFC fights were definitely at a higher magnitude. For the UFC fights, I prepared my whole life for that moment, then I dropped two in a row. It was a tough moment. But I knew that I could dig deep and make a comeback; I knew that I had that feather in my cap. I knew that when my back was against the wall, I could find a way to get back on top.
Do you ever think about where you might be without MMA?
Oh man, without MMA and my son, I really don’t wanna know. That thought has kept me up at night. I’m very thankful for MMA and my son; they’ve made me the man I am today. I’m very thankful that I’ve got a great career in the UFC, and I’m really grateful that MMA has put me in a position where I can really give back, and give my son the life that he deserves to live.
I know I’ve asked you this before, but who was more excited after your first UFC victory, you or your son?
Man, we were both pumped, dude (laughs). He wasn’t there because of the restrictions in place at the time, but I called him and he was about in tears. He was so pumped up! It was a great moment, and even better when I got home to see him in person.
ABOUT IRIDIUM SPORTS AGENCY
Iridium Sports Agency is a full-service professional management firm. Founded in 2009 by attorney Jason House, Iridium represents more than 80 fighters in the UFC, Bellator and ProFightLeague. Iridium's team of agents is devoted to assisting athletes in all aspects of their professional lives.