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Saturday, 12/21/2013, 09:58 am

Travis Browne On Josh Barnett: He Will Have To Finish Me To Win


All the talk about next week’s UFC 168 card involves two rematches: Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman, and Miesha Tate vs. Ronda Rousey.

One fight that seems to have been forgotten about, but is destined for fireworks, is a heavyweight match up between two of the best in the world, Josh Barnett and Travis Browne.

Browne recently sat down with ESPN.com’s Michael Huang to discuss his past and his future.

After starting his athletic career in basketball, a friend of Browne’s introduced him to grappling. “I told my buddy, ‘Show me how you do [jiu-jitsu],’ and he put me in an armbar. I was hooked and just became obsessed with it,” he said.

Since then, he has amassed a record of 17-1 in mixed martial arts, with six of those victories coming inside the UFC’s octagon.

Browne is usually the underdog in his fights, and the fight with Barnett is no different. However, with only one career defeat, he almost always finds a way to win. In his words, “I don’t have a combat sports background, so I’ll always be the underdog. I want to be the best and fight the best. But people who know will tell you I’m just a big softie. I’m more of a lover than a fighter.”

Browne is one of the oft implied, but rarely fulfilled “new breed” fighters, who started learning mixed martial arts from the beginning, and is constantly evolving and blooming. He comes from the indubitably dominant Jackson-Winklejohn camp, and Browne said he is consistently trying to change things up in his training camps.

“I try to do different stuff for every camp,” he said. “Always add something you can use. Train smarter, harder.”

Browne believes his choice in camp is ideal for his personality and skill set and said, “It was the perfect fit for me. They encourage creativity and teach you to believe in yourself, your skills. The coaches are on board with experimenting with different things. So I asked Winklejohn to teach me a new skill for Barnett.”

That skill? The same attack that caused him trouble in his most recent fight against the technical yet vulnerable Alistair Overeem. “Heat-seeking knees,” Browne quipped.

Ever excited for his future, yet never looking past his next opponent, Browne strives for greatness.

“I want to be the best and fight the best. I have momentum now,” he said. “To stop me, my opponent is going to have to finish me to win.”

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