From high school wrestling superstar to undefeated amateur mixed martial artist, Nakia Brown has absolutely exploded onto the Gulf Coast fight scene. Brown is one of a handful of young and highly talented fighters featured at Empire Fighting Championship 1, this Saturday, March 30th, in Biloxi, Mississippi. Incredibly, he has fought five times since last October, and he doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.
Added to his high volume of fights, Brown’s opponent for this upcoming fight has been changed three times in the last three days. For many fighters, the thought of alternating opponents this close to stepping into the cage is enough to pull out. Not Nakia! He’s ready to fight anyone, anytime, anywhere, and at 5 – 0, it’s a dangerous proposition for anyone who may choose to accept.
Follow along as I ask Nakia Brown about his roots in wrestling, how he has maintained his astonishing pace and momentum in mixed martial arts, and what he has been doing to prepare himself for this weekend’s fight.
So, the opponent that you’ve been in camp for just pulled out. You literally texted me five minutes ago and said that you’ve got someone new lined up. How, if at all, does that affect you?
It doesn’t really affect me, I train for everybody, any type of situation. It’s just the weight cut, and I usually have a pretty smooth one.
Does it change what you do for the rest of the week?
No, not really. I’m just going to keep doing my cardio and my weight cutting. I usually walk around pretty heavy, at about 170 lbs.
How long out do you usually start cutting.
I used to start the Friday before fight week. But, now I start on the Monday before the fight. I’m going back to something that I used to do back in my wrestling days.
And what do you do to lose those 25 pounds in five days?
Low sodium, gallons of water, sauna, treadmill, hot tub, all the sweating you know. I eat yogurt for breakfast, maybe two chicken breasts for lunch, and call that a day. As it gets closer to the fight, I eat less and less, and the day of the weigh-in, no water, nothing to drink or eat.
What do you do to rehydrate and what do you usually step into the cage weighing?
I walk into the cage at about 160, from mainly water and dehydrating myself so much. I drink at least five to six gallons of water after weigh-ins. I make sure I’m rehydrated, and I eat pretty healthy.
So, where are you from, and what got you into fighting?
Im from Vacherie, LA, but I stay in Darrow, and I train in Baton Rouge. What got me into fighting is the opportunity that it brings. It brings a lot of money, and I could take care of my family like I want, take care of my mom like I want. We never had too much. We’ve got a good bit now, but if I could get into the UFC, I could create a lot of opportunities for my family and my teammates.
“We’re used to scrambling and getting position, used to using our bodies and used to leverage. If you don’t have grappling, you’re not going to stop a wrestler.”
You said that you come from a wrestling background?
Yea, I graduated last year from St. Amant High School with a record of 158 – 48, and most of my losses came from my freshman and sophomore years.
Obviously there are many MMA titles held by ex-wrestlers. What edge do you think wrestling gives to a mixed martial artist?
Definitely we’ve got the takedown defense, and if we cant beat you standing up, we can take you down and hold you down. We’re used to scrambling and getting position, used to using our bodies and used to leverage. If you don’t have grappling, you’re not going to stop a wrestler.
What’s a typical week like for you? How often are you training and what do you typically train and when?
I’m usually training six days a week, sometimes seven if I want to do a run. In a typical day, I’m usually training boxing, mixed in with wrestling and a little bit of jiu jitsu. I’m usually training, a little fun here and there, maybe to the movies. I don’t really go out that much.
“People get paid boatloads of money to punch somebody in the face. It’s the easiest job in the world.”
Where do you train out of, and are there any fighters there that you’d like to shout-out?
I train out of Beat-2-Sleep in Baton Rouge. We got Lachlan (Kritsonis), Thomas Webb, Donald Wilkinson, Larry Bradford, Nick Lusher, Hunter Jones. We’ve got a lot of people, and we’ve got a real good team.”People get paid boatloads of money to punch somebody in the face. It’s the easiest job in the world.”
What do you like most about fighting?
It’s a stress reliever. If you’ve got any anger built up, you can release it in fighting. People get paid boatloads of money to punch somebody in the face. It’s the easiest job in the world.
And what do you feel is your biggest strength?
My biggest strength has to be my mom. She’s my motivation, daily. She steers me right from wrong, she keeps me grounded in the gym and with everything. Also, Thomas Webb keeps my mind on a swivel, he always tells me to stay humble.
What was it like the first time that you stepped into the cage? What was going through your mind?
The first time, I was just telling myself to stay calm, it was back in October of 2018. I was telling myself to stay calm, I got this. I was just thinking about everything that I had to accomplish.
So, you’ve had five fights since October?
Yes sir, I’m fighting like once every month.
“It’s a mental thing, and I’m not taking too much damage. After every fight, I learn new things. I feel like out of everything, I learn from the fights mainly.”
How are you doing with that kind of consistency fighting? How is your body holding up?
Usually after a fight, I take like two days off, but my body is pretty good. I’m used to cutting weight from wrestling, and I don’t take too much damage in fights. I usually get my opponent out of there pretty quickly. As long as I don’t take too much damage, I’m ready to fight again.
How long do you plan on keeping that kind of consistency?
Until I turn pro.
And why are you fighting so often right now? Is it something that you feel you need to do, or is it something that you feel is unique that you can do but maybe others can’t?
I believe that it’s something I can do that others can’t. It’s a mental thing, and I’m not taking too much damage. After every fight, I learn new things. I feel like out of everything, I learn from the fights mainly.
Do you have any plans as far when you might turn pro?
No, I don’t have any plans. I’m just taking it fight by fight. Until my coaches tell me, I’ll stay amateur. If I get 30-something fights, it doesn’t matter. I’m not in any rush.
“I’d like to fight him though, I feel like I’d wipe him up.”
You’re currently 5-0. Do you have a favorite fight?
My favorite fight is probably against Trey Rutledge. He was 0 – 1, but he didn’t fight like it. He came out there and he took me down. He had me in a triangle, a good jiu jitsu guy. He was the second person to ever make it to the second round with me. But, I finished him early in the second with a head kick.
So, Yadier del Valle called you out in an interview that I had with him. Why do you think he did that?
I feel like it’s because I’ve got the belt, and because my name has got a little hype to it. I’d like to fight him though, I feel like I’d wipe him up. I was there to watch his fight (Capital City Fight Night), and in my eyes, I feel like he gave up in that fight. But, the ref didn’t stop him. He sat there and took the punches. Anybody that doesn’t have enough heart to keep fighting, I don’t think they have a chance to beat me.
And how do you think a fight would go between you and him?
I think it would be a pretty good fight, but as I said, he doesn’t seem like he has enough heart, like he’d give up, get tired, try to throw some bombs, and I’d end up knocking him out or submitting him.
What are your short-term goals, and what are you doing to reach them?
I’m just looking to be champion as an amateur and get belts from as many promotions as possible. I haven’t ever missed more than two days of practice after a fight, when everybody else takes off weeks. When everybody else is sleeping, I’m training. I’m trying to stay active, keep my self healthy and in shape.
Let’s say it’s fight day. How does it begin for you? What do you do leading up to the fight, and what’s going through your mind?
First thing, I wake up pretty early. I put on some fights on Youtube, some Conor McGregor fights, watch my opponent’s fights. Later, I get breakfast, and after two or three hours I’ll go drill, scenarios, practice. Then, I go back to the hotel, shower, and go to the fight rules meeting. And, later that day, it’s fight time.
“I haven’t ever missed more than two days of practice after a fight, when everybody else takes off weeks. When everybody else is sleeping, I’m training.”
You said you watch Conor McGregor videos? Why him?
Because I feel like we have the same mindset, and I like how he fights. He fights confident, and he’s intelligent with his striking and everything.
What has been the highest point of your career so far?
It has to be when I won my title recently. The dude was talking so much trash, for two months, and I didn’t even know him. He just came into my comments talking so much. When he heard about me, he called the promoter and said he was going to beat me. Actually, in his career he had already missed so many weigh-ins. He showed up to this weigh-in 15 lbs. over, but I still fought him, and he tapped out to punches.
Any low moments?
One of my weight cuts, it was terrible. I was throwing up, feeling sick, and catching cramps the whole time. Two hours before the fight, the cramps finally stopped, but my hands were locking up. Before that, I was almost thinking about not even making the weight, but my coach encouraged me to.
Whenever you look back at your career, what will you have had to accomplish in order to view it as a success?
I’d like to be a two-division world champion. I would have had to have made enough money for me and my family to live comfortably, and to have my own gym.
Do you have anything that you’d like to plug? Do you have any upcoming fights? Would you like to shout-out your school/coaches?
Yea, I’ll be fighting my original opponent for this card, Blake Anthony, on April 13th, but I’m not sure of the promotion yet.
And, I’d like to shout-out Beat-2-Sleep boxing, coach LJ Morvant, Emanuel Augustus, and Donald Wilkinson, my practice partner every day. Larry Bradford, he’s my jiu jitsu coach. And I’d like to thank anybody else that I may have missed that let’s me work with them every day.
Make sure to catch Nakia Brown take on Trent Fairley this Saturday, March 30th, at Empire Fighting Championship 1, in Biloxi, Mississippi. I’ll be there covering the event, and I will have photographs and a full fight recap published shortly after.