UFC Fight Night 26: 5 Fights for Travis Browne to Take Next
Travis Browne kind of shocked the world on Saturday night. Well, at least in the betting sense.
He was very much a live dog going into his bout with Alistair Overeem, and once he overcame some early trouble and started finding his range on a rapidly gassing opponent, it was all over but the crying.
Browne hit a front kick to knock the Dutchman out cold and immediately rocketed himself into title talk thanks to his impressive showing of toughness and technique.
With a heavyweight title fight only a couple of months out, Browne could be no more than another solid win away from getting the winner of Velasquez-Dos Santos III. Some possible opponents to get him that win include:
Stipe Miocic blasted his way into the top tier of the heavyweight division with his first excellent performance in the UFC at UFC 161, a thrashing of tireless veteran Roy Nelson.
For a very long time now, people have suggested Miocic’s wrestling and Golden Gloves boxing talent to represent the future of the division, and he showed he’s ready to take that next step.
Put him in there with Browne and see who comes out on top. Whoever does will certainly make a statement in doing so.
Coming into this weekend, Mark Hunt was behind Browne in the UFC heavyweight rankings. That’s not going to change considering Browne looked so impressive in overcoming Overeem on Saturday night.
But with Hunt coming off of a loss to Junior dos Santos and presently finishing up a battle with a staph infection, he should be ready to go in the not-too-distant future. The 39-year-old will be looking to get back into the top 10 and make a big stride in a career that may not have many years left, so you can guarantee he’ll be ready to fight.
If the goal is to get Browne a fight with a motivated, ultra-durable veteran and see how he does with a guy that’s almost impossible to put away, Hunt is your man.
Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva
The only loss of Browne’s career came nearly a year ago against Antonio Silva, one that germinated from a torn hamstring that led to Silva overwhelming the Hawaiian. A year later and Silva has also beaten Overeem, as well as losing a title fight to Cain Velasquez.
Silva is one of the more underrated guys in the division, while Browne has to want a chance to avenge a loss that might not have happened had his body not betrayed him in the cage.
Give him a chance to do that, and if he can, it might be time to put him in there with the champion.
Fabricio Werdum may be next up for a title shot if the timing works out and Daniel Cormier ends up going to 205, but it looks like at least one of those things isn’t going to come together. If timing is the issue (and it probably will be), a good bridge to a title fight for either guy would be to pit him against Browne as a title eliminator.
Put them on UFC 167 with an eye on making a heavyweight title fight in the spring, and let the winner take on the winner of Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos.
Both Werdum and Browne have earned their stripes, and a win for one over the other will create a truly deserving, undeniable No. 1 contender.
Cain Velasquez-Junior Dos Santos Loser
If Browne wants to wait it out a little, perhaps the best fight for him would be against the loser of the title fight happening at UFC 166 between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos.
Make no mistake, in terms of both record and skill displayed, Browne is very close to a title shot. Just how close could easily be measured by his success against a former champion.
If he could topple one of these guys, say some time in early 2014, there would be no question that he’d be the next in line for a shot at gold. Throw him in there and see what happens, because it’s clear he’s ready for elite competition from here on out.