Three years into his UFC career, heavyweight Travis Browne (14-1-1 MMA, 5-1-1 UFC) has been in a few big fights. None have been quite as big as his upcoming showdown with Alistair Overeem (36-12 MMA, 1-1 UFC).
“He’s definitely a veteran,” Browne told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “He’s been around a long time, and all the controversial stuff aside, he’s a dangerous man. At this level, we all are.
“He definitely has a skillset that you need to be aware of and respect, and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go in there, we’re going to set up the gameplan to beat him, and we’re going to follow through on our gameplan.”
Browne and Overeem meet on the main card of UFC on FOX Sports 1 1, which takes place Aug. 17 at Boston’s TD Garden. The evening’s main card airs on FOX Sports 1, launching the new all-sports channel. Overeem fights for the first time since a disappointing February loss to Antonio Silva, but he still holds the No. 4 slot in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie.com heavyweight rankings.
Meanwhile, the No. 12-ranked Browne looks to build on the strength of an impressive stoppage win over Gabriel Gonzaga at April’s The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale. With a combined 25 career knockouts between them, fireworks seem a near guarantee.
Of course, Silva was able to down Overeem through a crafty gameplan that saw him play possum for 10 minutes before attacking a tired “Demolition Man” in the final frame. Browne said he was still in the initial gameplanning stages of his camp but doesn’t anticipate a similar approach.
“That’s usually not my style,” Browne admitted. “I like to just kind of go out there and just get right to it. I haven’t been known to be the biggest strategist, I guess you could say. We’re just going to go out there and do what we do.
“I haven’t even talked to Coach (Greg) Jackson about a gameplan yet, so I really don’t even have a gameplan set up yet. We’re just going to go out there, and it’s going to be another vintage Travis Browne fight.”
Thus far in his career, “vintage Travis Browne” has meant impressive aggression. There was an odd draw against Cheick Kongo and a disastrous tactical error in his own bout with Silva, but his win over Gonzaga showed exactly what he’s capable of accomplishing. A win over Overeem would serve as a signature result and catapult him to to top of the division.
“I’m fighting a top-5 guy, so after that it’s kind of, ‘Where do you go from here?’” Browne said. “Do you wait your turn to fight for the title? Do you fight again and try to move even that much closer? At this point, a lot of those guys in the top-4, all of them could be fighting for the title. But once I’m there, you’re ready. You’re there.”
And the heavyweight division could indeed undergo a massive shuffle in the next several months. Current champ Cain Velasquez is expected to finish his trilogy with No. 2-ranked Junior dos Santos later this year, but next week’s No. 5 Fabricio Werdum vs. No. 11 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira contest, UFC 161's No. 7 Roy Nelson vs. No. 15 Stipe Miocic and a UFC 164 bout of No. 6 Josh Barnett vs. No. 10 Frank Mir will all have a significant impact on the landscape of the weight class.
Browne said he won’t be trying to tell UFC brass what do with him should he down Overeem in impressive fashion, but he does believe his time may very well be coming.
“I’ve never been one to raise my hand and say, ‘Hey, guys, it might be my turn,’: Browne said. “For me, I want to let the UFC speak for me. I want them to be confident and put me in a place where they know that it’s the right place for me.
“I’m not one to sit here and ask and beg and plead for something that they don’t want. It’s not my company. I work for them, and I look forward to putting on shows.”
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