In the fight game, it isn't always about winning and losing. Much of the time it's about entertaining the fans and leaving a lasting impression with an impressive performance regardless of victory or defeat.
David Branch is well aware of this, ahead of entering the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) Middleweight tournament to crown the promotion's first-ever 185-pound champion. He faces Danillo Villefort in the opening round at WSOF 5 later this evening (Sat., Sept. 14, 2013) at Revel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Of course, he wants to win like every fighter on the planet, but he explained that it was his brother Sechew Powell -- a professional boxer -- who convinced him it's more than that.
"He has been in the boxing business a long time, and fought at the top of the division and he has had some shortcomings," Branch told MMAmania.com recently. "He explained to me there is a business side of fighting. You can't only want your personal satisfaction of winning. You have a job to do and that is to go out there and entertain those fans."
Even though he never lost back-to-back fights while he was in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Branch received his walking papers from the promotion after a loss to Rousimar Palhares. He gave an honest answer and self-assessment after he was asked if the release surprised him back then.
"Yes and no," Branch admitted. "It's a business and I think I wasn't going out there and performing to the best of my ability and showing the real talent I have.
"That is one thing I failed to do a little bit-on top of the wins -- I failed to 'wow' the crowd, and really put on a level of excitement that makes the promoter say, ‘damn this guy is electrifying.' I didn't put that kind of performance on," he continued. "That is something I want to do right now in the World Series of Fighting. I want to keep going and obviously the more you win, the more confident you are in your abilities to do these things."
The Brooklyn Native was dominant in ruining Pride FC veteran Paulo Filho's return to MMA at WSOF 2 last March, but he didn't put him away and it still bothers him. He is dead set at taking out Villefort inside of three rounds.
"I was disappointed in my last performance a little bit because I wasn't able to put Filho away," Branch said. "I don't want to just win a decision with Villefort. I want to actually go out there and finish him. Nothing against him, just somebody that's in my way, that's my job. I don't want him staying around in there with me, I want to go out there and finish him."
Branch feels he has a strong veteran presence among the contestants in the tournament. This will be the Renzo Gracie BJJ black belt's third fight in WSOF, and he is one of the few fighters to fight in all three of the UFC, Bellator and WSOF promotions. He claims he has already faced better competition than Villefort, or Jesse Taylor and Elvis Mutapic-who are also in the tournament.
"I think I've definitely fought some really tough dudes, definitely a lot tougher than the opposition that I'm facing, I believe," Branch said.
That experience is why he feels he will be able to dictate where the fight takes place.
"Wherever he is real uncomfortable, that's where he is going," Brach says with confidence. "Whether he wants to go there or not...I don't care how focused and determined he is or how much preparation he's done, that's where he's gonna go. Wherever he is weak is where I'm going to take the fight."
Having the confidence in his ability and experience, a strong desire to finish and knowing he has to have a strong performance on top of getting a win, Brach is taking all that with him into the decagon on Saturday night.
"Being in Bellator and lighting it up there...Being in the UFC and in the Octagon...All that experience...All the failures, everything that I've ever learned in my life, I'm bringing all of those things, all of those emotions in there with me on the 14th. I'm going to go out there and just take it."