UFC on Fox 11: Travis Browne Ready to Ascend to Title Contender Against Werdum

Kyle SymesCorrespondent IIIApril 15, 2014

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 17: Travis Browne celebrates after winning with a knockout against Alistair Overeem in their heavyweight bout at TD Garden on August 17, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

There’s a lot on the line for Travis Browne at UFC on Fox 11 as he takes on Brazilian jiu-jitsu wizard Fabricio Werdum, but that hasn’t phased the heavyweight contender.

Browne took a few moments to speak with Bleacher Report MMA about headlining the card and his thoughts heading into the showdown with Werdum.

“This is the second time I’ve headlined an UFC card but I’ve changed my mindset this time around,” Browne said. “One of the things I learned about myself is not to allow other people’s pressure to get to me.”

Indeed the scope of this matchup is quite different than Browne’s first headline event against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva back in October of 2012. That card was on FX and didn’t have the title implications that his next fight has.

Still, the ramifications inside the cage haven’t changed who Browne is as a person.

“I’m still the guy that won’t say no to somebody,” Browne said. “Unfortunately I can’t get to everybody but the UFC reps and people around me have learned that I’m not an a******. I won’t say no to fans.”

Werdum was scheduled to get the next crack at the heavyweight strap after Cain Velasquez defeated Junior dos Santos once more. But with the champion on the shelf due to an injury, the Brazilian decided to stay busy and take the fight with Browne.

The Jackson’s MMA fighter meanwhile has skyrocketed up the UFC heavyweight rankings by spending just over six minutes in the Octagon in 2013. Browne landed spectacular knockouts against all three of his 2013 opponents, including an incredible come-from-behind win against Alistair Overeem.

One of the traits that has served Browne so well during his MMA career has been his athleticism. Although standing at 6'7", Browne has never been considered a “big guy” which suits him just fine.

“I never expected to be the bigger guy,” Browne said. “When I was playing sports like basketball I wasn’t the bigger guy; I had to use my quickness and agility. Playing traditional team sports like basketball and football help you become more of an athlete. Basketball contributed a lot to me being athletic.”

Werdum won’t be totally unfamiliar of Browne’s athletic ability when the two meet at UFC on Fox 11 as the two have trained together before, something Werdum has been sure to point out.

That’s like comparing apples to oranges. It doesn’t make sense why someone would talk about something from four years ago, especially in this game. He’s talking like I’m the same fighter; that’s fine with me. If you think that then you have problems. I don’t understand why he’s bringing it up and not being 100-percent honest about it. We know it went down and minus the details it wasn’t as good for him as he makes it out to be.

Browne did also point out that he’s not willing to wait around as long as it takes for Velasquez to return should he beat Werdum.

“If he comes back around October or November, I will definitely wait,” Browne said. “If it’s going to be a year to year and half I want to get another fight in.”

Browne will have the chance to prove to Werdum just how much he’s improved since then in the UFC on Fox 11 main event. The card will be co-headlined by a women’s bantamweight bout between Miesha Tate and Liz Carmouche. Also on the card is an exciting lightweight scrap between Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Edson Barboza.

Unless noted, all quotes were obtained by the author.