In a word, Brian Foster is excited.
Over the course of a twenty minute conversation, “The Foster Boy” mentioned almost once a minute that he was excited about his upcoming fight against Matt Brown on November 20th at UFC 123. In total sincerity, Foster’s own words sounded like they were ready to jump through the phone and ground and pound some unsuspecting foe into oblivion, which is exactly how he manhandled Forrest Petz less than two months ago at UFC Fight Night 22.
“I had a ton of confidence going into that fight,” said Foster, who faced Petz after an extended layoff from his late February submission loss to Chris “Lights Out” Lytle. “I hadn't fought for six months prior to that, but I'm so young that I don't think ‘ring rust’ really affects me. Maybe when I get into my 30's, but not now.”
The 26 year old Foster did not give the infamous “ring rust” a chance to set-in as he ended the fight in 67 seconds. Also, in his own words, the fight didn’t take much out of him, as “I really didn't do too much in that past fight.”
Agreed, the Oklahoman didn’t do too much besides win “Knockout of the Night” and even his UFC record to 2-2 all in about a minute. “I'm aggressive,” Foster deadpans. It only took one punch to slip through and stumble Petz before Foster pounced on his prey like a lion on an injured zebra. “If you see in the last fight, if I touch you and I see in your eyes that something hurt you in some way then I'm coming at you fast and hard. A lot of my punches land; I'm pretty accurate out there. I'm not going for all the power in the world, but I'm putting something on it and I'm bringing a lot of them with me.”
Foster’s aggression, excitement and punches have a new target this weekend: The Ultimate Fighter season 7 alum Matt Brown. “He's 0-2 in his last couple fights and I know he is going to come in aggressively because he doesn't want to lose for a third time,” Foster is referencing Brown’s back-to-back defeats to Ricardo Almeida and Chris Lytle. “We're training hard for him. We’re paying a lot of attention to his strengths and paying even more attention to his weaknesses.”
“The Foster Boy” is not shy with his assessment of his challenger. “His strengths are his length. He is real tall and long,” Foster notes how this plays perfectly into Brown’s Muay Thai striking style, which is well-trained at Matt Hume’s gym in Washington. “I think his clinch is real dangerous. I think people underrate it. He hasn't shown a whole lot of damage with it, but it should be noted he has a good clinch and could use it. He's also got good elbows when he's got his back against the cage.”
“[Brown] tries to push the pace in the center,” said Foster, and while both fighters share an affinity for keeping fights standing, he explains that this will end unfortunately for his opponent, “which plays to my strengths because I rule the center.”
But in today’s UFC, fighters need to be well-prepared in all areas and Foster is fine with the fight going to the ground, as he mentions he has a guillotine choke in his arsenal like everyone else. But the thickness in severity Foster delivers his words with is certainly heightened when talking about exchanging blows in the stand-up.
“If we're going to stand in the center then that is my world. I think he is going to find out real quick he is not going to want to do that. He's going to want to pressure me forward or backwards into the cage. But I'm not going to because of what I do. His weakness is the center of the cage even though he tries to take it and it won't work against me. That weakness will play right into my strength.”
These strengths of Brian Foster are being well attended to by a host of famous coaches in Granite City, Illinois, “I train at the H.I.T. Squad. You know Matt Hughes' little gym he’s got out here?” Joking aside, Foster spends his days working with the revered coaching staff of the H.I.T. Squad like “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler, Marc Fiore and current The Ultimate Fighter contestant Kyle Watson, who are all led by arguably the greatest champion in UFC history - Matt Hughes. “We have a great group out here. We have a lot of guys around mid-stride in their camp right now, so everything is pretty intense around here.”
It makes a ton of sense why Matt Brown and Brian Foster were paired to fight each other. Two young fighters known for their aggressive stand-up, who won’t back down, who have something to prove, who take chances, who come from great fight camps, and who simply love fighting. Both Foster and Brown have made a career in fighting a positive, life changing endeavor. Matt Brown used fighting to curb his previously out-of-control lifestyle. Brian Foster turned to fighting after his brother’s death as a release for his unimaginable pain and anger. Fighting for the UFC is more than a job for these two men; it is a dream they have made a reality and neither is going to give it up easily.
“It's going to be an exciting fight because of how he is and who I am,” said Foster, well aware of why he was picked to fight Brown. In all likelihood this fight will be the knockdown, drag out battle it appears it will be on paper. Nevertheless, no one can predict how a fight will play out, even the people in it.
“We could cancel each other out and go to a stalemate because we fight a similar way.” But the will to win and the desire to compete are too strong in Foster and Brown for this to not be a fun fight for the fans, “Or we can go in there and throw it to the sharks and see who is going to get it first. I'll be able to tell what type of fight it will be when I look into his eyes when I'm standing across from him.”
On November 20th, Brian Foster, with his unbridled enthusiasm for fisticuffs, will be pacing back and forth staring down Matt Brown. He will need to focus his excitement into a controlled chaos when that fight begins. “In my game, what I want to do is be deliberate,” Foster’s words thick with bad intentions. “With every punch I throw, I want it to be deliberate. I want the punches to be accurate and he has a lot of them coming for him. If I see in his eyes one time that I rocked him, the ref better cover him quick because I'll be on him.” Regardless of how Brown chooses to fight him, Foster makes this promise, “He might crowd me or he might not, either way he is going to be getting hit the whole time.” And that should make for an exciting fight.
Foster's Goal? Drag Brown Into His World
“With every punch I throw, I want it to be deliberate. I want the punches to be accurate and he has a lot of them coming for him. If I see in his eyes one time that I rocked him, the ref better cover him quick because I'll be on him.”