Brooklyn native David Branch has been working a long time toward fighting for a championship, and on Saturday night (June 21, 2014) at WSOF 10, he will get his first crack at winning one when he takes on Jesse Taylor for the inaugural World Series of Fighting (WSOF) middleweight championship.
Branch is on a three-fight winning streak in the promotion, and he put forth an impressive effort in a unanimous decision victory over Danillo Villefort at WSOF 5 in the semifinal round of the WSOF middleweight tournament to advance to the final.
"I ready to go. I'm ready to go and take that belt," said Branch, who has also fought in Bellator as well as the UFC. "It's been a long time coming and I've been waiting long enough and training really hard. I just want to go out there and show the world I'm the champion of this organization in this division. I want to also show that I'm one of the best fighters in the world. I want to prove to myself and everybody else that Taylor has no business being in the cage for me."
Branch, 32, said he's been working on "all facets of the game," in preparation for Taylor, who won his semifinal match up by unanimous decision over Elvis Mutapic at WSOF 7. He "knows Taylor is a wrestler," but that doesn't mean that is all he has worked on to prepare for his WSOF 10 title fight.
"I'm not getting ready for Jesse any different than the way I've gotten ready for my past three fights," Branch said. "I have no weakness. I can wrestle on the cage, out in the open. I can do jiu-jitsu on the ground or on top. I can strike with anybody. There is no one area I am going to be weak in."
A lot of things have changed for Branch once he started fighting for WSOF that have led to his winning streak. "It's a mindset," is how he explains it. Last time he spoke to MMAmania.com, Branch said he had received some good advice from his brother Sechew Powell, who is a professional boxer, on being a performer and entertainer, not just a fighter.
The 13-3 combatant heeded the words of his sibling and that, combined with his maturity and experience, has led to him trusting in his abilities more than ever.
The new outlook and positive frame of mind has Branch feeling very self-assured heading into his WSOF title fight.
"It's just one of those things where the confidence is there," he explained. "I believe in myself and I'm the strongest I've ever been. There is no reason why I can't go out there and do damage to these guys. I think it just took me realizing that -- aside from different coaches telling me that all along and being around really great people who have always told me -- I just have to believe in myself."
"Now that is the golden ticket, just me believing in myself now and being able to go out there and I think it is going to be more and more. I'll just go out there this fight and I'll do things that I just feel like doing. I just want to change the game a little bit and be outside the box and not fight a boring fight. I'm going to be pulling things off. I want to do different things. This is a perfect opponent for me to showcase a lot my skills."
Branch is a black belt under Renzo Gracie, who has recently come under fire for an incident involving an assault on a bouncer at a New York City night club (details). The Gracie pupil vouched for his jiu-jitsu coach and said he has heard quite a bit about the reputation of the bouncer.
"I know the guy that they got into the altercation with, the guy at the club," Branch said. "A lot of my students who also teach and a lot of my friends know that this guy is a notorious asshole. He starts a lot of trouble and he has a long history of provoking fights. I know Renzo and I know all the guys and they don't just go out and start trouble."
As many readers may already know, the legislative calendar is coming to an end this week, which means MMA in New York will remain banned. The native New Yorker is of course, like most fighters in the "Empire State" -- excited for it to happen.
"I can't wait for them to bring MMA to New York," he said. "I think that would be awesome. I think that is something that is missing out here. We have a huge fan base here that we haven't even tapped into yet. I know it would be really great for me because I am a hometown guy."