MENU
#Fight Night Stockholm #Alexander Gustafsson #Glover Teixeira #Colosseum #Conor McGregor #Dynasty of Heroes #Mariusz Pudzianowski #Fight One #TKO #UFC 211


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.

Related News

Twitter reacts to UFC's announcement of new women's flyweight division

  • 24 days ago
  • 28 views

Check out the top Twitter reactions to news of the UFC’s newest division, women’s flyweights, being added later this year.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC Announces TUF 26 Will Crown Women's Flyweight Champion | MMAWeekly.com

  • 24 days ago
  • 5 views

A new division will be created and a new champion will emerge from the next season of The Ultimate Fighter. read news >>

Dana White says UFC women's flyweight division not finalized, despite announcement

  • 24 days ago
  • 11 views

Hours after the announcement, UFC President Dana White said nothing is official regarding a new women’s 125-pound weight class.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>

UFC Pulls Back on Women’s Flyweight Division | MMAWeekly.com

  • 24 days ago
  • 7 views

Less than 24 hours after announcing a women's flyweight champion would be crowned this year, UFC officials are putting the idea back in the box. read news >>

Gegard Mousasi needs just 26 words to run down the UFC's middleweight division

  • 23 days ago
  • 144 views

Gegard Mousasi may be a free agent, but he still has no problem providing his unfiltered thoughts on the top talent in the UFC’s middleweight division.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk plans on being two-division titleholder

  • 17 days ago
  • 7 views

DALLAS – Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk is back on some familiar turf this week for her UFC 211 co-headliner. Filed under: Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC read news >>

Iuri Alcantara meets newcomer Brian Kelleher at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro

  • 15 days ago
  • 46 views

The lineup at UFC 212 in Brazil recently lost arguably its biggest name, but the lineup continues to build below what would’ve been Anderson Silva. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC 211 winner Chase Sherman has plan for future in 'not very stacked' heavyweight division

  • 13 days ago
  • 24 views

DALLAS – Chase Sherman avoided the dreaded 0-3 start to a UFC career when he picked up his first octagon victory at UFC 211. Now he knows exactly what he wants out of his career going forward.Filed u read news >>

TUF 26: What You Need to Know About the Division, Fighters, and the Ideal Roster

  • 18 days ago
  • 9 views

On May 4, the UFC sent out a press release informing the world that a new season of The Ultimate Fighter would crown the inaugural women's flyweight champion. Hours later, UFC President Dana White to read news >>

Joanna Jedrzejczyk eyes being 2-division UFC champ, Ronda Rousey's record

  • 23 days ago
  • 16 views

LOS ANGELES — For a woman already known worldwide as “Joanna Champion,” there is no inkling that she’s content with her status. There is still plenty she’d like to accomplish.Filed under: Featured, F read news >>