On Saturday night, Travis Browne has the chance to take one big step forward in his UFC career in his first fight back from tearing his hamstring.

Browne’s last fight didn’t go as planned and didn’t vault him into title contention. After starting off his fight with Antonio Silva with a bang, Browne tore his hamstring and things changed for the worse. Browne suffered his first loss and the first blemish on his perfect record.

Here is Browne’s chance to pick himself up and get right back on the horse. A dominant win over Gabriel Gonzaga could kick start Browne’s ascension back up the ladder.

His fight against Gonzaga is a tough one to predict. Gonzaga has had trouble with many top heavyweights, and heavyweights with knockout power in general. Browne has the striking prowess that could make him a nightmare for Gonzaga. But is Browne the kind of top-level heavyweight that has given Gonzaga trouble in the past?

A loss to Silva isn’t all that big of a deal when you look at Browne’s record overall. Silva is a big name and a top heavyweight in the division, so a loss to him is nothing to scoff at. Plus, if it were not for tearing his hamstring, who knows how the fight might have after that?

Browne’s biggest win comes over Stefan Struve, but adding Gonzaga to that list could be something off which to build. Browne certainly has the striking to contend in the division, but his ground game has rarely been tested thus far in the UFC. Browne was obviously the bigger man and had a clear advantage over Chad Griggs in perhaps the only time we’ve ever seen Browne on the ground. Most of the time, Browne only goes to the ground when he has his opponent hurt. There’s not enough evidence yet to go off of in assessing whether he can contend on the ground with top heavyweights like Fabricio Werdum.

In his quest to prove he is an elite heavyweight, Browne is taking a good step in fighting Gonzaga, but the bout doesn’t quite stand as the true challenge for Browne to prove he is worthy of that distinction. In order to be considered the best, you have to beat the best, and Gonzaga isn’t at that level anymore. Gonzaga has a tendency to get knocked out by strikers and knockout artists. Not only that, but Gonzaga is towards the end of his career and although he is a recognizable name, you won’t find any rankings with Gonzaga’s name in the top 10.

Browne has good takedown defense and more than adequate striking to get the job done in this fight, but the future is in his hands. Browne needs to rebound against an elite heavyweight after his loss to Silva, and Gonzaga is merely the first step back before that more significant encounter.

Browne fell his last time out, but it isn’t about how many times you fall, it’s about how many times you get back up and continue to perform at a high level. Browne is capable of recovering from that loss, and a devastating finish of Gonzaga on Saturday night will go a long way to indicate that he is capable of taking that step up to the level of the elite.

Photo: Travis Browne (R) (James Law/Heavy MMA)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.