The UFC heavyweight roster is filled with talent and Travis Browne (11-0-1 MMA, 2-0-1 UFC) is one of the division’s bright young stars.
Browne’s only been out of the first round once in his UFC career and his knockout victory over Stefan Struve at UFC 130 was nothing short of impressive.
The talented Hawaiin returns to the Octagon this Saturday against Rob Broughton (15-5-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) as part of UFC 135’s main card action and he’s excited to once again showcase his skills on pay-per-view.
“That’s the place to be, is on the main card.” Browne recently told BleacherReport.com. “I think I’ve put in some work and I’ve fought some tough guys early in my UFC career in order for me to get in that spot of being on the main card.
“My first fight in was James McSweeney, he’s a vet of the game, second fight in, I fought Cheick Kongo, and then my last fight I fought a guy that was previously the co-main event for a big show. So, I think I’ve definitely earned that spot to be on the main card and I’m excited to be there and show the fans what I’ve been able to accomplish.”
After Browne’s first round destruction over Struve, many believed that he would face a fighter higher up the rankings than Broughton.
Instead, UFC officials matched him up against a tough, well-rounded fighter that’s on a five-fight win streak. While Broughton isn’t the Top 10 opponent many had hoped for, he’s a dangerous fighter that Browne isn’t taking lightly.
“I get a lot of ‘Are you kind of bummed that you’re taking a step down? After that fight [with] Stefan Struve, we thought you should’ve gotten a Top 10 heavyweight.’ But you know what? That guy’s tough, Rob Broughton is, he’s done a lot in his fighting career and he’s come a long way. He’s really shown big improvements in his last couple fights.
“His last fight was in UFC 120 against Vinicius [Kappke de Queiroz], he ended up submitting a brown belt in jiu-jitsu. I think he has a great gas tank, good boxing, and he’s pretty slick on the ground. I’m definitely not overlooking this guy and I’m taking it one fight at a time and I can’t wait to get in with him.”
In preparation for Broughton and the high altitude that he’ll face when he steps inside the Pepsi Center in Denver, Co., Browne made the move to the famed Jackson-Winkeljohn camp in New Mexico.
“You hear a lot from the other fighters that have fought in Denver, you see some of the fighters are just gassing out,” Browne said. “They’re not prepared for the high altitude and that’s something that I’ve known about, something that I’ve learned about, and I took the necessary steps that there wasn’t an excuse of me not being in shape for it.”
Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn are widely known as being two of the sport’s most brilliant coaches and learning under their tutelage has been a splendid experience for Browne.
“Coach Jackson and coach Winkeljohn offer so much to my game and it’s been a great experience training with them,” Browne said. “Coach Jackson even says himself that he’s a psychologist and he gets into your head and he’s able to have you believe things that you thought you’d never be able to do and all this kind of good stuff. He puts things into perspective for you and he really helps you to move along in your MMA career and he gives you that confidence.
“Coach Winkeljohn is hell on pads, that guy pushes you so hard. He makes you think you’re a champ before you even get in that cage and being with guys like Jon Jones, Brian Stann, and we have guys like Shawn Jordan in the gym, he’s fighting in Strikeforce the night before. Diego Sanchez, it’s always easy to feed off Diego Sanchez, he’s such a hard worker. Donald Cerrone [and] Melvin Guillard, all those guys are lighter weights, but it’s fun to watch them go at it and it’s definitely inspiring.”
Additionally, Browne’s confidence is near an all-time high thanks to his decision to train alongside an elite group of coaches and fighters. Needless to say, he’s pleased with the results he’s seen leading up to Saturday’s pay-per-view.
“A lot of it has been my mental confidence going into this fight,” Browne said. “Being with coach Jackson going into this fight, he’s really made me realize what I can really do as a fighter and he’s got me really excited about my fight and my career in general leading into this fight and also in the future. It’s good to have people that believe in me and are willing to support me and be there 100 percent. I’m just ready and I’m focused for this Saturday, but I’m definitely excited.”
The task at hand is putting his new-found training to the test and defeating Broughton. If he’s successful, Browne plans on returning to the Octagon sooner rather than later.
“My plan is to always go forward in this division,” he said. “I’m going to consistently put my head down and work hard. Put in the time I need in the gym and come out on the winning end of all my fights.
“At the end of this year going into next year, I look to fight as soon as I can, so hopefully I get another fight in late December [or] early January. Just constantly move up the ladder and Joe Silva has done such a good job with me, he believes in me.”
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