Following his time on The Ultimate Fighter season 12 — in which he lost via controversial split decision in the semi-finals — Nam Phan made his UFC debut and was subject to what Sherdog.com called the Robbery of the Year for 2010.
Last December, at the TUF 12 Finale, Phan battled featherweight staple Leonard Garcia for three rounds, at the end of which Garcia was declared the winner despite the fact that, in the eyes of most everyone but the judges, the bout clearly belonged to Phan. Phan was awarded his win bonus by the UFC and scheduled for an immediate rematch with Garcia, but was unfortunately forced out of the bout after suffering a broken foot in training.
Now, coming off of a nine-month layoff, Phan has been set up to face former featherweight champion Mike Brown in a bout which he believes is the toughest and most high-profile of his professional career.
“It is the biggest fight of my career,” Phan recently told FiveOuncesofPain.com. “Each fight is important, but this is the most prestigious fight of my career because Brown being a former world champion that he is, and fighting in the UFC, and both of us are coming off of a loss, so each guy, we have to win.”
Though Brown has gone 2-4 in his last six and has dropped two contests in a row — both since returning to the UFC — Phan expects to face the man who briefly ruled the featherweight division before Jose Aldo hit the scene.
“I expect Brown the champion that beat Urijah Faber –- I definitely expect the best of each opponent, you can’t train for the worst; you expect the worst and hope for the best,” he said. “You have to train for the best fighter that you’re about to fight and I just hope that things work out for me.”
To prepare for Brown, Phan broke his normal mold and switched things up in his training camp, getting in mat time at the American Kickboxing Academy as well as with Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.
“Mostly for my training I stay at my own academy, I train with my own guys, my own students, and I train at a boxing gym in Anaheim with my boxing coach Art James –- but for this one I actually did go up to American Kickboxing Academy with some of the guys up there, and I also trained with Gilbert Melendez.”
Phan and Brown will meet on the Facebook-aired preliminary card of UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz 2, which goes down on August 6 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.