In the land of heavyweights, it seems the same names are being mentioned over and over when it comes to the top of the food chain in mixed martial arts (MMA).
Seeing as how all of the top dogs will soon be fighting under the same roof, once Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion Daniel Cormier completes his final fight in Strikeforce when he takes on on Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) import Frank Mir later this fall, it's safe to say the UFC's heavyweight division is as competitive as ever before.
With guys like reigning champion Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, former champion Cain Velasquez, the aforementioned Cormier and Mir, along with Fabricio Werdum, all occupying the top spots for the majority of this year, there haven't been a whole lot of breakthroughs and shakeups in the past few months.
Travis Browne looks to change all of that when he takes on Antonio Silva in the main event at UFC on FX 5 on Oct. 5, 2012 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After originally being penciled in to face Ben Rothwell at this weekend's (Aug. 4, 2012) UFC on Fox 4 event in Los Angeles, California, an injury to "Big Ben" forced UFC officials to scrap the bout and pull "Hapa" from the event altogether.
According to Browne, the change is not all bad news. Despite losing out on the massive exposure an event on Fox would have garnered, he is more than happy to now be headlining a show of his own.
Appearing on The MMA Hour this week (July 30, 2012), Travis talked about the recent change of schedule for him as well as how he hopes to soon be mentioned amongst the likes of Cormier and Velasquez:
"It's kind of bittersweet because as an athlete, I want to get in there and perform and I don't get the chance to this weekend. But I believe I have a bigger opportunity in headlining an event. Even though being on FOX is a huge, huge deal and the exposure is amazing, you can't go wrong with headlining an event. It doesn't matter if it's Fight Night, an FX card, a FUEL card, a pay-per-view or FOX. It doesn't matter. If you get to headline an event, I believe that's better than being on any main card there is. I'm happy with the opportunity and with my opponent. Bigfoot always brings it, he comes ready, and I think it will be a good one for the fans."
Browne believes his performance against "Bigfoot" will determine how much of a leap his career will take:
"I think that's going to be what to talk about. Is it going to be, 'Oh, Trav just barely beat Antonio,' or is it going to be, 'Man, Trav just decimated Bigfoot. Now, how can we not talk about him and Cain and Daniel Cormier all in the same conversation, because they all fought the same guy and they all beat him pretty bad?' So I think it's about how I beat him will [determine] what people are going to talk about."
Silva's last two defeats have come at the hands of the two of the top three big men in the sport in the form of Cormier and Velasquez via first round knockout. A third consecutive defeat could lead to an early exit from the promotion should he fail to put a halt to his current skid.
His last win came at the expense of former heavyweight kingpin Fedor Emelianenko in February of 2011.
An impressive win over a veteran such as Silva for the undefeated (13-0-1) Browne could catapult him closer to the top of the totem pole and will undoubtedly be the most impressive win on his resume to date.
How about it Maniacs, should Browne prove victorious against "Bigfoot" in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," where would you place him amongst the upper echelon of big men in the UFC?
Can this be the breakthrough fight Browne needs to place himself amongst the bigger names in the promotion?