There were two separate pieces of recovery that went with Travis Browne‘s loss to Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva this past fall.
One had to start immediately. Browne tore his hamstring throwing a kick in the UFC on FX 5 main event in October. The injury gave Silva a chance to capitalize, and he did, getting a first-round TKO victory. It was the first loss of Browne’s career.
The mental recovery from that first loss was an easy one. The physical recovery took much longer.
On Saturday, Browne (13-1-1 MMA, 4-1-1 UFC) will try to get back in the win column when he meets Gabriel Gonzaga (14-6 MMA, 9-5 UFC) in a heavyweight bout on the main card of the TUF 17 Finale, which takes place at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The main card airs on FX following prelims on FUEL TV and Facebook.
“I was never one of those kind of fighters who thought about being undefeated and held that to any kind of a standard,” Browne recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “Guys that get pressured by an undefeated record, I think that shows they have a weakness in their mental game. At the end of any day, you can go into the cage and it’s one man against another. Records are out the window. Momentum’s out the window. It really does not matter. When you get high up in this sport and you’ve learned to accept where you’re at and what can happen, and accept the sport for what it is, I don’t think that’s something that should bother you.”
But when it came to working his way back from the leg injury, it took a little more time.
“It was about a good two, two and a half months,” Browne said. “Everything the physical therapist asked me to do, I did it times two. I just made sure I stayed on top of it. My body is the way I earn my money and is my career, so it really helped me to focus on my body and that it’s where I need to be for my next fight.”
After the loss to Silva, Browne saw Silva go on to a fight against Alistair Overeem in February. He won that fight with a vicious third-round knockout, and the next thing he knew, he was in a title fight next month against champion Cain Velasquez at UFC 160.
Browne couldn’t help but wonder what might have been different had he not gotten injured against Silva, what would have happened had he won that fight. Maybe it would have been him against Overeem trying to book a title fight.
“Everybody has their path, and this is mine now,” Browne said. “I’ve had to accept that. If you had asked me that right after the fight, then definitely – that would’ve gotten to me a little bit. At the same time, at this point in my career I have to move forward and not worry about what other people are doing and focus on what I’m doing. I have to accept what happened and I’m happy for the guy. Out of everybody in the UFC, there are some guys you don’t want to beat you. I don’t mind that Antonio beat me. He’s a good guy, he’s a family man, and I wish him the best in his fight with Cain.”
Now Browne turns his attention to Gonzaga, who comes into their fight with a three-fight win streak, all by submission, and two straight after returning to the UFC.
At the Jackson/Winkeljohn MMA team in Albuquerque, N.M., Browne has had the advantage of working with some good heavyweights. But in particular, the addition of Frank Mir to the team may wind up being Browne’s answer to Gonzaga’s jiu-jitsu game.
“The one thing he has that is different than anyone else I’ve fought is a traditional jiu-jitsu game,” Browne said. “I fought Stefan Struve, but he doesn’t really have that smothering jiu-jitsu where he’s just going to try to latch onto you and drag you down and smother you out and get a submission that way. That’s the one thing that fighting Gabriel Gonzaga, I had to be prepared for – and I am prepared for it. Luckily, we had Frank Mir there for my camp, and rolling with him was great and showed me a lot about myself and definitely boosted my confidence.”
And that shot of confidence was just what Browne was looking for after the disappointment of the injury against Silva.
For more on The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
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