Josh Barnett and Travis Browne are set to meet at UFC 168, in a battle between two highly touted MMA Heavyweights. Browne’s record stands at an impressive 15-1-1, his only slip up was a first round TKO loss to ‘Bigfoot’ Silva. Barnett sports a 33-6 resume, most recently improving with a first round TKO of Frank Mir at 164.
With ‘The Warmaster’ long being considered the best outside of the UFC, and Browne holding a 5-1-1 promotional record; does this bout hold any implications in the division’s title picture? In the case of Barnett, he may well need another win before getting the show.
During his stint outside of the UFC (2002-13) Barnett has racked up some good wins, but often fallen at the biggest hurdles in his career. Losses to Daniel Cormier, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and Mirko Filipovic x3 are overshadowed by his 19 wins in that time, but do represent the biggest names on his record.
Barnett did beat Antonio Nogueira, Mark Hunt, Pedro Rizzo, Sergei Kharitanov and a few others during his hiatus, but Mir represents his biggest win in seven years. Browne would probably take that place if Barnett should best him, and I would argue the case for ‘Warmaster’ to get a title contender bout with a win at 168.
‘Hapa, on the other hand, could easily be granted a title shot with a win against Barnett. Up until his 2012 loss to Antonio Silva, Browne’s biggest win was a superman punch KO win over Stefan Struve at UFC 130 (GIF credit: Zombie Prophet). He was then featured in the title contender bout with Silva, but has since beaten two reasonably big names in the promotion.
Browne returned with a vengeance at The Ultimate Fighter 17 finals, knocking Gabriel Gonzaga out with a flurry of vicious elbows to the side of the head. The brutality of his KO win that night was only equalled by that of his next fight against Dutch kick boxer Alistair Overeem.
‘Reem’ was coming off a TKO loss of his own against ‘Bigfoot’ and looked a new fighter ahead of the UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen event. The outcome was a convincing KO from behind by Browne, using a perfectly timed front kick after nearly being finished himself.
If Browne can score another knockout, or impressive win, against a veteran like Josh Barnett; it would be very hard to argue against him getting a title shot. That being said, if Barnett is able to dominate Browne there could easily be a very good chance that he is handed a shot too. The top end of the division is very congested right now, and 168 could be the ticket to the front of the queue for either man in this bout.