Travis Browne was on a roll in the UFC heavyweight division before he faced Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva last October on the UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot card.
A win that night might have earned him a shot against one of the top-ranked heavies in his next fight. Instead, Browne blew out his hamstring by overextending his leg on an attempted front kick and eventually succumbed to a TKO stoppage. He fought valiantly on one leg and made no excuses after the fight. Recently though, Browne admitted that the injury was a factor in the loss.
“Oh, yeah definitely, it definitely had something to do with the loss,” Browne said recently as a guest on Darce Side Radio. “When you are only fighting on one leg, it’s pretty bad. Especially for my style, I’m a very mobile heavyweight.”
The light-on-his-feet Hawaiian nicknamed “Hapa” had to wait two-and-a-half months before he could train for Gabriel Gonzaga, his opponent at the The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale on Saturday night. Browne did not mention any setbacks and said he is “good to go” as far as his hamstring is concerned.
Gonzaga, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, has two submission victories since his return to the UFC and is looking for his third win in a row. Most of his career wins have come by way of knockout or TKO.
Browne is confident in his own striking and explained that his grappling should not be underestimated, even against a savvy tactician like Gonzaga.
I think obviously my strength is my stand-up, but some of my strength is the unknown and that’s my ground game and my wrestling. Nobody really knows about that. Nobody knows about those two things. Always—they just think of me as a striker—and I welcome that. So, he has a lot of figuring out to do once he gets in close with me. If he does get me to the ground, he has to find a way to keep me there. I trust what I can do from the bottom.
Browne has been training with another Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in preparation for this fight—former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir. “He’s definitely helped me with my confidence,” Browne said.
Browne needs a win to avoid his first-ever losing streak and to gain a shot against a ranked opponent in the near future. But he is only focused on Gonzaga at the moment.
“All that matters right now is going there and winning this fight vs. Gonzaga and putting on a show for the fans.”