'Motivated' Travis Browne shooting for the top of the heavyweight division with impressive UFC on FX 5 win

Apr 21, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Travis Browne reacts to beating 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

Travis Browne was not in a good mood when he found out his opportunity to compete on the national stage had been yanked out from under him.

But sometimes when one door shuts, another opens.

With an injury to opponent Ben Rothwell and no one stepping up to fight him on short notice, Browne was removed the UFC on Fox 4 card and now, instead of fighting in the second televised bout, he'll be headlining a UFC on FX event against former Strikeforce and EliteXC standout Antonio Silva.

Obviously, "Hapa" is pleased with how things ended up turning out.

Speaking to USA Today, the part time Alliance MMA and Greg Jackson fighter spoke about his tremendous new opportunity to showcase his skills as a main eventer.

"It's an honor and a blessing to get that call. For Joe Silva and Dana White to put the main event in my hands, I take that seriously. I feel blessed and honored to be a part of it. I accept that challenge, and I'll be ready for it."

Browne's opponent, Antonio Silva, is one of the biggest and baddest heavyweights in the world, but he wasn't afraid to give his opinion on "Bigfoot."

"I like the matchup. I think it will be a great fight. I respect the guy a lot for what he's done. He beat one of the best in the sport. But he's shown that he's susceptible to certain things, and that's something we're going to exploit."

With headlining status also comes higher stakes. While an impressive performance against Ben Rothwell on the UFC on Fox 4 main card may have moved him up the ladder, now, he's in a position where a strong showing could help him throw his hat in the clouded UFC heavyweight title picture.

According to him, it's all about performance.

"I believe my position in the division depends on how the fight goes. Obviously if I lose, then I don't deserve to be in the title discussion. If I win, it's going to depend on how I win. I think if I have a lackluster decision, then I won't be ready and I won't be mentioned. But if I go out there and I dominate and I put on the type of performance I know I can, I believe I'll be right in there with the top fighters in the heavyweight division."

Browne has taken his game to the next level in recent months, showcasing his incredible athleticism and an improving ground game against Chad Griggs at UFC 145. He's come a long way from the fighter who had a boring draw against Cheick Kongo or the fighter that Chael Sonnen thought punked on during an episode of MMA Live.

"I'm more motivated than ever. My skillset has gone through the roof in the last year. My love for the sport and training has really grown. I believe I'm putting it all in right at the right time, and I believe that Joe and Dana have done such a great job of bringing me along in my past five fights. It will show itself."

So what do you make of this new and improved Travis Browne?

With contenders like Cain Velasquez, Alistair Overeem and the soon to be debuting Daniel Cormier, can "Hapa" find a home at the top of the division with a strong showing against Antonio Silva?

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