Do you have some questions about MMA coach Mike Brown?
In this Mike Brown MMA coach profile, we’ll look at who Mike Brown is, his MMA and UFC career, who Mike Brown has coached, his coaching style and methods, and the success he’s had as a coach.
Who Is MMA Coach Mike Brown?
Mike Thomas Brown is a former MMA/UFC fighter who became the AFC featherweight champion and the WEC featherweight champion with two successful title defenses before losing to Jose Aldo.
He competed professionally as a featherweight from 2001 to 2013 and retired a year later in 2014 with a 26-9 MMA record, a 6-2 WEC record, and a 2-4 UFC record.
After retiring as a fighter, Mike Brown turned his attention to coaching at American Top Team (ATT), the major gym/team he’d been fighting with since 2005. However, in the period between fighting and coaching, he was working the front desk at ATT as a way to stay involved in MMA.
Shortly after, Mike Brown started coaching at ATT, and with his experience as a fighter and his evident passion and talent as a coach, Mike Brown was soon appointed ATT’s head coach.
Mike Brown’s UFC/WEC Run
Mike Brown earned a WEC contract after putting together a 6 fight-win streak, fighting in various MMA promotions.
In just his second WEC fight, Mike Brown caused a giant upset when he defeated then-champion Urijah Faber by TKO at WEC 36 (2008). He then defended his title against Leonard Garcia and Urijah Faber, beating him for the second time, before losing to Jose Aldo via TKO at WEC 44.
Mike Brown won another two fights and lost one in the WEC before signing a UFC contract. Mike Brown didn’t have the best of time in the UFC, going 2-3 and getting knocked out in his last fight against Steven Siler (2013).
Despite the fight against Siler’s being his first of a five-fight contract signed in 2012 after UFC 146, Mike Brown retired a year later and cited numerous injuries such as a nagging neck injury (and surgeries) and reoccurring loss of strength in his hands after taking blows to the head as the reason.
In total, Mike Brown had roughly 10 surgeries throughout his MMA career.
Mike Brown as a Fighter
Mike Brown’s first martial art was wrestling, winning a state championship in 1992 at the age of 17 and continuing to wrestle while at Norwich University. At the same time, he started Bjj and learned to strike on the side.
As a featherweight fighter, Mike Brown was a dominant wrestler who combined dangerous Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills to secure 13 submissions in 26 wins, 8 decisions, and only 5 knockouts.
And despite his brilliance with offensive Bjj, his first 4 MMA losses were via submission (2001-2005). It wasn’t until 2010 Mike Brown was awarded his Bjj black belt by Ricardo Liborio.
Along with his wrestling and submission prowess, Mike Brown had accurate boxing and ground-and-pound but lacked the power for regular knockouts. For most of his decision victories, he used his wrestling to defend takedowns and outbox his opponents, or he’d take them down or clinch to control the fight.
Which Fighters Does Mike Brown Coach?
Since beginning his MMA coaching career in 2014, Mike Brown has coached hundreds of fighters, being the head MMA coach at American Top Team.
Some of the most notable fighters Mike Brown has coached are:
- Amanda Nunes
- Andrei Arlovski
- Bo Nickel
- Bryce Mitchell
- Dalton Rosta
- Dustin Poirier
- Grant Dawson
- Joanna Jedrzejcyzk
- Johnny Elben
- Jorge Masvidal (BMF belt winner)
- Kayla Harrison (PFL)
- Krzysztof Jotko
- Kyoji Horiguchi
- Mateusz Gamrot
Overall, Mike Brown mostly trains elite UFC fighters, many of whom are or have been champions.
Mike Brown’s Coaching and Cornering
American Top Team is one of the largest MMA gyms and therefore has several coaches. Mike Brown’s job as head MMA coach is to oversee the work of the other coaches and perform wrestling, striking, and Bjj coaching too.
In terms of coaching, he focuses a lot on wrestling as he believes it to be fundamental to success in MMA. Alongside wrestling, Mike sees conditioning as key, where he uses live sparring in a controlled manner to avoid injury yet put his fighters through their paces.
He’s also very open-minded and never discounts his fighter’s thoughts and opinions. He likes to experiment in fight camp with the tactics discussed because he knows it’s the fighter who’s going to be the one fighting so they need to be comfortable with the game plan.
Outside of general coaching and management at ATT, Mike works closely alongside ATT’s top fighters during their fight camp, many of whom were mentioned above.
Part of this is also being there at the events as a cornerman, where he offers intelligent advice and works on composing his fighters. He’s great as a cornerman because he really understands his fighters and knows how it feels to be in their shoes.
During his early wrestling days at school and University, Mike Brown was recognized for his ability to focus. This has translated into his coaching career, where the focus he gives his fighters and coaching staff is unlike other coaches. He’s all about the fighter and this makes him a pleasure to work with.
Mike Brown has also spoken of how he doesn’t see coaching as a job, rather he sees it as getting paid to have a lot of fun. Everything considered, and combined with this kind of job satisfaction, positivity, and how humble he is, it’s easy to see how Mike Brown’s had quick success, as have his fighters at ATT.
Mike Brown’s MMA Coaching Success
In just 4 short years as an MMA coach, Mike Brown won the 2018 MMA Coach of the Year Award to become the first MMA coach to win major honors as a fighter and coach. This is a record unlikely to be beaten for a while, and in 2023, he still remains the only one to do so.
It’s also extremely unlikely to see another MMA coach win major honors in just 4 years after beginning their coaching career – owing to the high-quality coaching Mike Brown provides.
Overall, winning a major coaching award, having the experience and success as an MMA fighter, and seeing how ATT is continually progressing and expanding, there’s no doubt Mike Brown is one of the top MMA coaches around.