We all know about Alistair Overeem and where he's at. Travis Browne is the one who needs the expository dialogue here.
Browne overcame some major hurdles early on in his UFC career. In his second UFC bout, he fought Cheick Kongo to a draw (Kongo neutralized Browne's grappling with illegal short-grabbing). In his third, he knocked out Stefan Struve. Later, after racking up an impressive 13-0-1 record, a leg injury seriously weakened his chances against Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, resulting in an unfortunate TKO loss.
After righting the ship with a win over Gabriel Gonzaga, Browne had the chance to vault into title talk with a win over Overeem.
He did just that, too, by scoring a massive come-from-behind knockout in round 1. What did we learn from this shocking upset?
Travis Browne Has a Remarkably Strong Chin
The thrashing Overeem gave Browne in the opening minutes was downright scary. He ate strikes at such a frequency that the fight could've been ended on a few occasions.
The fact that Browne still remembered where he was is impressive. The way he dragged himself up and came out swinging is borderline inhuman. Browne made a commendable showing even before winning.
Travis Browne Is a Title Contender
As stated, Travis Browne has been winning some huge fights since 2010. A win against Alistair Overeem, somebody who has been regarded as a top-five fighter for years, rockets him to the top of the title picture.
I'm still very reluctant to indicate that he may stand a hint of a chance against Cain Velasquez. That said, a fight with the winner of Josh Barnett vs. Frank Mir, or an outright top contender fight with Fabricio Werdum both make perfect sense for Browne at this point.
I am not saying that he will take the belt...but he sure as hell deserves a shot at it now.
Alistair Overeem Is Not a Legitimate Title Contender
So I'm willing to admit that Overeem's loss to Antonio Silva was a fluke. If not a fluke, I'd still say Overeem is the superior fighter.
The thing is, for all his on-paper strengths, Overeem has always struggled with savvy fighters he couldn't bully. Add to that his ever-questionable chin and it's becoming increasingly clear that Overeem just doesn't qualify as a legitimate title contender in the UFC anymore.
He is still a recognizable name in a division in transition. That can't be understated. Fighters will always want to fight Alistair Overeem in the same way fighters still clamored to fight Tito Ortiz and still beg to fight Wanderlei Silva.
However, right now, it's tough to favor Overeem over any top-10 heavyweight.
Alistair Overeem Is Still Really Big
We all know about Overeem's alleged, almost certain, PED use. The way he deflated between his drug test failure and his fight with Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva was profound.
While he doesn't look quite as large as he did back when he fought Brock Lesnar, he packed back on at least some of his muscles. How natural was this? I have no idea, and I'm not a doctor.
It's definitely worth pointing out, though. I mean...that's something good for him.
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