Apr 21, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Travis Browne (left) fights Chad Griggs in a heavyweight bout during UFC 145 at Philips Arena. Travis Browne won in the first round by submission. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE
You can't teach 6'7'', and that's why Travis Browne is fun to watch.
Scoring a nice flying knee in an early exchange which set the stunned Griggs up for the takedown and finishing hold, Browne fought tall while displaying impressive athleticism for such a rangy guy. Typically, heavyweights Browne's size can seem plodding, as though they're incredibly powerful monsters fighting underwater, but "Hapa" is a very nimble fighter for his size.
It's encouraging to see him display his "A" game, because after his dreadful decision win over limited Rob Broughton in his last outing, you wondered if Browne had simply seemed a mirage.
Earlier performances dangled the kind of big-man potential that makes for heavyweight excitement, as Browne devastated James McSweeney and Stefan Struve, while drawing with veteran Cheick Kongo in a very tough bout. The Broughton fight showed every bad heavyweight stereotype a young prospect can display -- low work rates, stumbling technique, long mutual pauses in the action, and no definitive statement.
But that was clearly a learning experience Browne has put under his belt and taken to improve himself.
Griggs is a chronically underrated fighter, and a no-frills heavy hitter that comes to bang. His punishing, hammer-fist-flurry stoppage of Bobby Lashley was one of the feel-good moments of 2010, as Griggs basically came from nowhere to destroy a hyped prospect that felt more WWE than MMA.
Brown is in a good position to develop with some more gut-check style fights and to gain experience, and for his next match, a showdown against Ben Rothwell would make perfect sense. Rothwell dispatched Brendan Schaub last night, and is the kind of opponent that won't go easily. Plus, his renewed commitment to physical conditioning suggests he's tackled his biggest career impediment.
With a renewed Browne using his size to deliver strikes, that's a match any fan should want to see.
Jason Probst can be reached at twitter.com/jasonprobst and Jason@jasonprobst.com