Travis Browne: New face emerges in Heavyweight title picture after UFC Fight Night 26 Alistair Overeem knockout

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

With his first round knockout of Alistair Overeem at UFC Fight Night 26 last night (Sat., Aug. 17, 2013), Travis Browne emphatically re-inserted himself into the small pool of Heavyweight contenders.


We have an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight Champion, Cain Velasquez, who is fighting a trilogy match against Junior dos Santos at UFC 166 on Oct. 19, 2013.

Fabricio Werdum has won three in a row and six of his last seven, while Daniel Cormier plans to drop to Light Heavyweight because Velasquez, his good friend and training partner, is the champion. And quite frankly, it fits his body type better.

Aside from those gentlemen, there really hasn't been anyone in the title picture for more than one year.

Until now.

Dear mixed martial arts (MMA) world, meet Travis Browne!

There is nothing quite like a comeback of Brock Lesnar -like proportions on a widely-promoted event such as FOX Sports 1, which hosted UFC Fight Night 26 last night (Aug. 17, 2013) from TD Bank Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

And quite possibly, the event put an end to Alistair Overeem's run as a Top 10-ranked Heavyweight to make an impression.

Just watch these ridiculous fight video highlights for proof positive.

So what's next for Browne?

The call out of Velasquez was smart and likely to pay dividends soon, but not right away. Let's make a couple of assumptions here:

First, Velasquez wins the re-rematch against "JDS." It's not a given, as the first fight showed, but certainly plausible. Daniel Cormier then proceeds to move down to 205 pounds to challenge champion Jon Jones.

So those two things have happened, right?

The path is clear for Browne to face Velasquez it would appear. Wrong. Combat sports fans can't, and shouldn't, forget about "Vai Cavalo."

"Go Horse" has a very legitimate claim to be next because he's beaten current Top10-ranked fighter "Bigfoot" Antonio Silva, Fedor Emelianenko (when that meant the world) and a pair of former Top10'ers in "Big Country" Roy Nelson and "Big Nog", Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

And that's in just the past few years.

Personally, I think that Browne needs one more win before that shot at the strap to make him a star and there's a multitude of ways this can work out.

Option A is that the UFC pits Browne and Werdum in a title-eliminator, but I don't like that option because the division is pretty small and why would you axe one of only two choices? Save that guy for later if you can. Option B is to give Werdum the shot and save Browne for next.

I like this option a lot, personally.

There's a few good names who would be a solid co-main event on a card in the future that could really sell old Brownie as being the next big thing. The obvious one would be a rematch with "Bigfoot." Browne tore his hamstring early and got clobbered by the sasquatch ... something he's wanted to get back for a while now.

If UFC decides to go in a different direction, another great test would be the winner of Frank Mir vs Josh Barnett.

All three of those guys are right near each other in the rankings, so not only does it make sense insofar as the numbers go, it would instantly boost the winner up into the top five (or even three), making a title shot an easy sell.

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