RIZIN has one of the most stacked lightweight divisions in MMA. Among the fighters already on the roster are Yusuke Yachi, Diego Brandao, and Satoru Kitaoka. Joining the division is Australian fighter Damien “Beatdown” Brown (17-12), who will be making his debut at RIZIN 14.
Getting his Start in MMA
Brown, 33, who fights out of Brisbane, got his start in the Australian regional MMA scene in 2010 after he returned from serving in the Australian army in Afghanistan. He previously trained in karate as a child, but his training was put on hiatus when he joined the army.
“I found martial arts was good for my physical and mental health post-deployment,” he said.
Brown in the UFC
In 2016, with a 15-8 record, Brown signed with the UFC and went 2-3 while fighting there. He did earn one of Fight of the Night bonus in a fight against Frank Camacho. His last fight for the promotion was against Dong Hyun Kim, which he lost by split decision.
“I thought I won at least two rounds and one judge thought I did as well. That’s the fight game… The pressure to win every fight; it changes the way you the fight.”
He was released by the UFC in July.
Despite the setbacks in the fight game, he’s not focusing on his past losses, but looking toward the future with RIZIN.
On Opponent Daron Cruickshank
On New Year’s Eve at the famous Saitama Super Arena, Brown will be making his debut for the promotion, but his first opponent is a tough one. He will be facing Daron Cruickshank (22-10), who is now on a four-fight streak. Three of those wins are finishes in RIZIN. His most recent win was at RIZIN 13 with a second-round flying knee knockout to Diego Brandao. He was originally offered that fight against Daron Cruickshank but said he had some injuries along with balancing a proper training camp and a full-time job.
When the opportunity to face Cruickshank came up again for the RIZIN 14 show, he was game.
“He’s one of the best lightweights, if not the best lightweight in RIZIN,” Brown said. “I’m very old school. I’m not going to point spar. I’m coming for a finish.”
Brown said he and his team are working on a game plan for the fight, which has the potential to be a fight of the year contender. “I’m certainly not going to wait on the outside and wait for him to kick me. I think it will be played out in the pocket and I think that’s what the fans will want. And if it goes to the ground I think I’ll get the finish… I haven’t been doing anything different… It’s just about putting the things together we think we need and working on the things we need to work and putting a game plan together to get the finish.”
Who He Wants Next
After Cruickshank, Brown already has ideas for his second fight. He said he wishes to face off again fan favorite Takanori Gomi.
“The dude is a Japanese legend. It would be a really good fight to have on my record.”
He also mentioned he would like to be in the rumored Lightweight Grand Prix next year.
Thoughts on Mayweather vs. Nasukawa
The main event of the card, the much talked about Floyd Mayweather vs. Tenshin Nasukawa exhibition boxing match, has garnered many opinions from fans and fighters alike. Brown sees the main event as an opportunity to get more attention on his fight.
“Nasukawa is a beast. Mayweather has hardly been touched in his career. If it’s actually going to happen, all the other fighters are going to have extra eyes on them. I can’t wait to have more eyes on me.”