Travis Browne’s last fight was his 10th inside the Octagon. He lost by unanimous decision to Fabricio Werdum in a fight where he broke his hand and his foot. That was April at UFC on Fox 11, and UFC Tonight reported that the Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA fighter has resumed training for a year-end return to the cage.
Werdum earned a heavyweight championship fight in Mexico City with the win over Browne, after finishing up a coaching stint on TUF: Latin America opposite Cain Velasquez. Browne now finds himself looking to avoid two losses in a row, and is three weeks into training for his next fight, which has yet to be announced.
Who should Browne fight after losing the title eliminator to Werdum?
UFC matchmaker Joe Silva is known to favor an approach of matching up winners with winners, and losers with losers. Whether you match Travis Browne up with someone coming off a win or a loss, there are a lot of viable options for his next fight.
Brendan Schaub is coming off a narrow decision loss to Andrei Arlovski at UFC 174, and Junior dos Santos hasn’t fought since his loss to Cain Velasquez. Either would be good opponents for Browne, but dos Santos has said recently to Tatame(transcribed by BloodyElbow.com) that he thinks the UFC will be matching up with Stipe Miocic, who is coming off of a 35-second TKO of Fabio Maldonado in May.
Winner of Mitrione vs. Lewis at Fight Night 50
Browne is in a position where he might need to beat back some of the middle of the pack in the heavyweight division to get back into title contention, and either of these fighters would be a good rebound fight for him.
Derrick Lewis has 10 wins by KO/TKO, and would provide a great toe-to-toe striking battle for Browne. A fight with Mitrione would also most likely be entertaining, as what Mitrione lacks in technical skill, he makes up for in athleticism and overall willingness to throw down. I would favor Browne to beat either fighter, but crazier things have happened, and heavyweights punch hard.
Junior dos Santos
Even though the UFC seems to be interested in trying to rebook dos Santos up against Stipe Miocic, I think “Cigano” would be a great next opponent for Travis Browne. This fight could easily main event a Fight Pass or Fox Sports 1 card. Dos Santos' boxing and punching power could be a problem for Browne, but he would have a reach disadvantage.
He'd need to close the distance to land his shots while also having to worry about Browne up close, who finished both Gabriel Gonzaga and Josh Barnett with elbows to the side of the head. If Browne could beat a former UFC champion in dos Santos, its possible he could earn a No. 1 contender fight in early 2015.
Miocic is the best option for Browne’s next opponent. Miocic’s boxing would provide a true test for Browne, who’s kicks and elbows have put away veterans like Josh Barnett and Alistair Overeem in recent fights. When Travis Browne doesn't get injured in fights, he usually controls the pace of the action. Against Miocic, he'll have to deal with constant movement and pressure, and one of the best boxers in the heavyweight division.
Miocic is getting close to title contention, and a win over Browne would solidify his place as one of the best fighters in the division. Though he's targeted for a fight with dos Santos, Brown vs. Miocic would be a heck of a fight.