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Brown: Underdog status makes no sense

Matt Brown, left, is still coming to terms with why he was pegged to fight Erik Silva. Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Matt Brown has no idea why he’s fighting Erick Silva in Cincinnati on Saturday.

He accepted the UFC welterweight fight without hesitation and he’s excited for it because he loves to compete -- but how he went from fighting a highly ranked Carlos Condit to an opponent ranked outside the top 10 does baffle him a bit.

“I don’t really know how this s--- works,” Brown told ESPN.com. “I don’t know how they decide one person gets this and another gets that. I don’t know.

“I accepted (Silva) right away but bottom line, I was like, ‘Hey, what’s going on here? Do I get to fight a top-10 guy? What do I have to do?’”

Brown (18-11), who fights out of Columbus, is set to headline the UFC Fight Night event at U.S. Bank Arena on Saturday. It’s his first appearance since he was forced to pull out of a big fight against Condit in December due to two herniated discs.

His opponent, the 29-year-old Silva (16-4), comes into the fight with a lot of hype behind him, but is only ranked No. 14 in the promotion’s rankings. Mike Pyle, who Brown knocked out in 29 seconds in his last fight, is ranked No. 12.

Even Silva sees something askew in the scenario.

“I understand the position Matt is in,” Silva said. “He expected a better ranked guy and I understand if he feels a little frustrated. I’m happy he accepted the fight.”

If that weren’t enough, Brown is actually a 2-to-1 betting underdog on Saturday -- in his home state. Most professional fighters, whether they’re being truthful or not, will tell you the betting line on a fight is the furthest thing from their minds.

But in this case, Brown admits it has added a little motivation ahead of the fight.

“Some of my coaches told me, ‘Dude, I should put money on you,’” Brown said.

“It does not make any sense to me at all. I looked at his record and his fights and he’s never beat anybody really good. I don’t know how good he really is. That’s what I’m going to find out. He hasn’t proven to be as good as me at all, so I have no idea where they came up with these odds.”

Not that Brown is losing sleep over it. That’s just not his personality. He’s stated in the past he understands the benefits of talking trash and stirring up headlines -- and that his refusal to do so is probably a major reason he’s overlooked.

That’s not about to change, says Brown, as he intends to ignore what he calls the “white noise” aspect of professional fighting.

One thing that’s been impossible for Brown to ignore, however, is what happened with Condit after he was forced to pull out of that fight. Condit went on to face Tyron Woodley at UFC 171 in March and lost when he suffered a torn ACL.

Woodley (13-2) has since agreed to fight Rory MacDonald in June, in a fight that will likely produce the next No. 1 welterweight contender.

Of course, that feels like a lost opportunity for Brown, who says he probably could have hid his injury well enough to still fight Condit in December. Ultimately though, it’s all white noise. Brown is confident his day will come.

“The way Woodley beat him, he didn’t even have to fight him,” Brown said. “I can’t let things like that factor into how I live my life. It’s essentially irrelevant.

“I honestly don’t understand it and I don’t try to understand it. I leave the politics to other people. As for me, I’m content to keep fighting. That’s all I even want to focus on.”