Less than a week out from The Ultimate Fighter 17 finale, Travis “Hapa” Browne joined BJPENN.COM’s Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio program this past Sunday, April 7, 2013.
Browne will face-off against seasoned UFC veteran Gabriel Gonzaga on Saturday night in his first fight back after tearing his hamstring. Fortunately for Browne, his muscle tear was the only injury suffered, as none of his ligaments were damaged and he was able to make a full recovery.
Not only has this setback put Browne into a seemingly more confident mindset, but it has also led to multiple change sin his preparation, such as diet. Thanks to his girlfriend Jenna, he says that his meals are now cleaner and meant to fuel his body, rather than satisfy his hunger.
“She got me eating real clean, and she’s preparing all my meals for me, making it really easy for me during camp to stay on top of my diet. That definitely changed everything, I mean I have abs and I have veins coming out of my stomach, you know what I mean? So it’s like, ‘holy hell, where’d these things come from?’ I’ve never had that in my life” Browne said, also noting that Jenna now personally prepares his food outside of training camp, whereas before he cooked for himself.
The increase in his metabolism comes from treating himself every now-and-then, but no more than once a month. Browne says that weekly cheat meals could negate a hard week’s work, and that limiting treats is key to maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle.
His diet isn’t the only thing that’s changed, however, as Brown moved his camp from Alliance in San Diego to Greg Jackson’s gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The transition of moving away form his close friends, teammates and coaches at Alliance was tough for Browne, but it’s the toughness of the New Mexico desert that he says revitalizes him during training; as well as the well-being of his children.
Jackson’s now, it’s just something I need to do, and being away from my kids and stuff really helped me find my motivation, which is my kids, and being away from them s a big struggle of mine, you know, and it pushes me daily. When I don’t want to run those hills or do those sprints up those sand dunes, or run the crest of the 12,000 foot freaking mountain, I think about my kids and I’m like, ‘you know, this is why I’m out here. This is what I’m doing; this is what I’ve dedicated my life to right now. This time frame, this two months is my dedication to my fight, and I need to do that to get back to my kids”, and I found that out in Albuquerque” said Browne.
In his pursuit to climb the heavyweight ranks, Browne has had a few setbacks, most recently in his loss to Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. Despite that, however, Browne says his fan base has not changed, as he isn’t a “trendy” fighter who is easy to like, since the fans that like him aren’t as likely to hop off the bandwagon. But despite the loss to Silva, Browne hasn’t faltered in his preparation, and says he is focused only on improving as a fighter, and not when he’ll get a title shot.
In preparation for Gonzaga, Browne’s jiu-jitsu preparation was ramped up while he spent eight weeks training alongside Frank Mir, whom Browne said only caught him in a submission once during their rolling sessions. Though Gonzaga has been willing to stand and trade punches with his opponents in the past, Browne is all too familiar with his jiu-jitsu pedigree from studying Gonzaga’s tapes during his come-up.
“About five years ago when I started jiu-jitsu, I would watch ADCC tapes and he would be all over them, winning Abu Dhabi’s and all that kind of stuff. He was a big guy and a strong guy and he had really good-obviously- submission skills, so I looked up the guy for a long time; never thought a day in my life I would ever be fighting him in the UFC, but I definitely forward to the competition and coming out and proving myself against him.”
Despite him not looking past his next opponent, or any future ones for that matter, “Hapa” made note of the rapidity that the UFC Heavyweight title changes hands due to great wrestlers and strikers inhabiting the division with no one able to put it all together.
“I don’t think there’s a real master of mixed martial arts in the heavyweight division yet that has been crowned the champ. I think in the other divisions-and I’ve always said this, I said this two or three years ago-I believe that the heavyweight division is about five years behind any other weight division. You have guys in other weight divisions that are able to dominate, to hold onto that belt for five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 15 defenses, however many, like Anderson has, I think it’s like nine or ten or something like that.”
With the right preparation, a better mindset and tunnel vision regarding his future in the Octagon, Browne wants to be dominant. With less than five years of mixed martial arts training under his belt, that may just be where he’s headed.
To listen to Browne’s full-length interview, listen to the player below or visit the BJPENN.COM Fist-Ta-Cuff radio channel and listen on demand.