Travis Browne has made his name in the UFC Heavyweight division with five first round finishes and only one decision win. He was at 13-0-1 when he met Antonio Silva in October 2012 and many had ‘Hapa’ pegged for title glory. As it turned out, an injury in the early goings hampered Browne’s performance and he eventually lost by in the first round.
He has since gone on a two fight KO streak, dispatching Gabriel Gonzaga with vicious elbows at The Ultimate Fighter 17 finals and then obliterating Alistair Overeem with a front kick at UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen. Now booked to face Josh Branett at UFC 168, the #5 ranked Browne could well be back in contention with a win.
TB stopped by to talk with ESPN’s Michael Huang to discuss ‘The Warmaster’ and his own evolution since his first loss:
“I try to do different stuff for every camp,” Browne said. “Always add something you can use. Train smarter, harder. I want to be the best and fight the best. I have momentum now,” Browne said. “To stop me, my opponent is going to have to finish me to win.”
Barnett is fresh off his own first round TKO win; a slugger against Frank Mir at UFC 164 which was stopped after Barnett landed a flush knee at the two minute mark. His debut was certainly clinical, and he now has a superb 33-6 record.
Long considered one of the top Heavyweights outside the UFC, Barnett made his name in mainly overseas promotions. Fast forward to present day and he is ranked number six and could arguably be handed a title shot with an impressive win against ‘Hapa’. Browne then went on to speak about Jackson’s and his trainer Mike Winklejohn:
“It was the perfect fit for me,” Browne said. “They encourage creativity and teach you to believe in yourself, your skills. The coaches are on board with experimenting with different things. So I asked Winklejohn to teach me a new skill for Barnett; Heat-seeking knees”
“I don’t have a combat sports background, so I’ll always be the underdog,” Browne said. “I want to be the best and fight the best. But people who know will tell you I’m just a big softie. I’m more of a lover than a fighter.”
Browne may well come in as the underdog against Barnett at 168, although JB has five years on ‘Hapa’ at 36 he also has a wealth of experience. Something tells me that Browne will emerge the winner, but I’m not placing any bets.
Photo: Paul Abell for USA TODAY Sports