MENU
#Conor McGregor #UFC 216 #GSP #Tony Ferguson #Fight Night Rotterdam #Darren Till #Nate Diaz #Kevin Lee #Michael Bisping #Nick Diaz #Donald Cerrone #Robbie Lawler


Travis Browne Could Breathe New Life into Rapidly Aging UFC Heavyweight Division

It’s a sobering commentary on the UFC heavyweight division that Travis Browne is arguably its most intriguing young contender.

This is by no means a critique of Browne. As he readies for a nationally televised title-eliminator against Fabricio Werdum on Saturday, his status as a top challenger should be self-evident.

The Hawaii native and Greg Jackson product has duly earned his spot across the cage from Werdum, transforming himself from toolsy prospect to bona fide championship threat during a four-year tenure in the UFC. He sports an impressive 7-1-1 record in the promotion, and in his last three fights, he laid waste to Gabriel Gonzaga, Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett with varying degrees of extreme prejudice.

At 6'8", he’s tall and rangy even for an MMA heavyweight and possesses the sort of athleticism that leads us to halfway believe him when he proclaims himself part of the "new breed" of UFC big men.

No, the strangest thing about Browne isn’t that he’s come so far, it’s that at 31 years old and about to make his 10th appearance in the Octagon, he is what passes as "young" and "intriguing" in a rapidly aging 265-pound division.

Keep in mind that this is a weight class where salty veterans like Mark Hunt (40), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (37) and Roy Nelson (37) still roam the Top 15. As of this writing, the average age of the UFC’s heavyweight Top 10 is a shade north of 34, and of the nearly three dozen heavies listed on the company’s website, just six are still in their 20s.

Werdum is nearly 37, and though his current UFC run began just two years ago, he has a decidedly old-guard feel about him. Chalk that up to his traditional Brazilian jiu-jitsu base (though he too has evolved) and the fact when he began his journey into MMA, Browne was just 19 years old.

After getting himself roped into coaching opposite Nogueira on a season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, Werdum fought just once during 2013. At one time he was thought to be the agreed-upon No. 1 contender, but his own inactivity and an injury to champion Cain Velasquez have forced him into action again this weekend.

Like the majority of the UFC’s top heavyweights, it’s hard not to look at Werdum and think the clock is ticking.

By comparison, Browne is still a spring chicken, and certainly some of his appeal stems from the fact that he’s one of the few elite fighters in the division whose career is on the upswing. It feels like he’s still evolving—like maybe we haven’t seen the best of him yet—and that alone casts him in stark contrast to most of his peers.

He’s more advanced in his title quest than Stipe Miocic (who is one month younger) and has already beaten Stefan Struve (who is just 26 but is working his way back from a career-threatening heart condition).

He’s almost exactly the same age as Velasquez, and if Browne can get past Werdum on Saturday, he’ll join the champ and Junior dos Santos (30) on the very short list of fighters who seem capable of leading the heavyweight division into the future.

To date, Browne’s only career loss came to Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in a fight where he tore his hamstring in the early going. He also drew with Cheick Kongo during his second UFC bout, but a review of the tape reveals that back in those days (2010), Browne was really just an undisciplined pup—albeit one with awfully big paws.

Unlike most of the rest of the 265-pound class, there’s still an exciting air of mystery about him. His recent wins have been impressive, but it’s been more than two-and-a-half years since one of his fights lasted longer than four minutes and eight seconds.

Browne’s skills have improved dramatically since his UFC infancy, but occasionally he still lapses back into wildness, leaving himself open for counters. Overeem had him in dire straits last August, and if not for the good graces of a referee, Browne would have lost that fight. Instead, he battled back and showed off his versatility, flooring Overeem with a front kick to the jaw.

We still don’t know how he’ll react to a five-round bout (if it goes that far) or how he’ll respond if Werdum can get him on the ground (though one thing we do know is that the best way to make Browne angry is to imply that he’s just a striker).

In a weight class full of known commodities and diminishing skill sets, he’s very much on the march.

Add it all up and it makes Browne a captivating focal point for a division that badly needs youth and fresh storylines.

I just wish we had three dozen like him.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Galleries

Travis Browne Fights

  • 8 months ago
  • 882 views

Comments

Show Comments

Related News

UFC 216: Ferguson vs. Lee Odds, Tickets, Predictions and Pre-Weigh-in Hype

  • 14 days ago
  • 4 views

At UFC 216, the lightweight division will finally have an active title picture for the first time in the Conor McGregor era. Either Tony Ferguson or Kevin Lee will become the interim title holder in read news >>

Conor McGregor on Mayweather, state of UFC lightweight division, 'rat' Paulie Malignaggi

  • 19 days ago
  • 32 views

Conor Mcgregor opened up on a variety of topics during a fan Q&A event in Glasgow, Scotland.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>

UFC 216 Results: Tony Ferguson Wins Lightweight Title Via Submission

  • 11 days ago
  • 10 views

After almost a year of relative inactivity in the lightweight division, the 155-pound weight class has an interim champion in Tony Ferguson. El Cucuy defeated Kevin Lee to claim the interim belt via read news >>

Tony Ferguson to Conor McGregor: Put the UFC Belt Down and Nobody Gets Hurt

  • 9 days ago
  • 6 views

Tony Ferguson scored arguably the biggest win of his MMA career Saturday night when he submitted Kevin Lee to capture the interim UFC lightweight championship. On paper, that victory should have been read news >>

Everlast Explains Why He Couldn't Sing National Anthem at UFC 216 | MMAWeekly.com

  • 9 days ago
  • 51 views

Everlast explains to UFC 216 media members why he couldn't sing the national anthem at the event. read news >>

UFC 216 medical suspensions: Ray Borg potentially out six months with finger injury

  • 9 days ago
  • 47 views

After tapping to an armbar in the fifth round of UFC 216’s co-headliner, Ray Borg is facing a six-month medical suspension for a finger injury. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Dana White Says WWE Would Not Allow Brock Lesnar to Crossover to UFC Again | MMAWeekly.com

  • 9 days ago
  • 17 views

For a brief flicker of time it appeared the UFC had the opportunity to book a massive super fight between Brock Lesnar and Jon Jones as both fighters were engaged in a war of words between interviews read news >>

Champ Cody Garbrandt: T.J. Dillashaw moves around gyms like 'a prostitute on the corner'

  • 9 days ago
  • 25 views

UFC bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt is still upset with T.J. Dillashaw’s departure from Team Alpha Male ahead of UFC 217.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Watch the Flying Knee KO That Earned Mike Rodriguez a UFC Contract | MMAWeekly.com

  • 9 days ago
  • 42 views

Mike Rodriguez seized his opportunity on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series when he landed a devastating Flying Knee that scored him a UFC contract. read news >>

Police waiting to hear from UFC vet Rony Jason after alleged assault of woman caught on tape

  • 9 days ago
  • 12 views

Brazilian police are expecting to hear from Rony Jason after videos of what appears to be the fighter assaulting a woman circulated online.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>