Fabricio Werdum’s UFC Heavyweight title run began with a 2014 victory over Travis Browne at UFC on Fox 11. Werdum’s 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 unanimous decision win led to an interim title bout against Mark Hunt at UFC 180 and then to a unification match against Cain Velasquez at UFC 188.
Travis Browne knows that had he won that bout, it could have very well been his own title run. Now Browne has the chance to get that one back and get back to the title picture as well.
Stepping In On Short Notice
Ben Rothwell, Werdum’s original opponent for UFC 203, pulled out of the bout on Thursday with a knee injury. Insiders are saying Big Ben tore a meniscus and may have suffered an ACL injury. With that development, the UFC scrambled to look for a replacement foe. Multiple sources are confirming that Travis Browne has verbally agreed to step in on short notice and that Werdum himself has given the thumbs up for the rematch to happen.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) August 12, 2016
Given all this, an official announcement is expected shortly.
Browne has gone 2-2 since his loss to Werdum in 2014. Most recently, Hapa suffered a first round KO loss to former champion Cain Velasquez at UFC 200. On the other hand, Werdum is coming off a first round knockout loss himself. Vai Cavalo was knocked out by current UFC Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 198 in Werdum’s own backyard in Brazil.
Werdum was calling for an immediate rematch. However, the UFC gave the first crack at Miocic to 4th ranked Alistair Overeem. The pair will fight for the UFC Heavyweight title at the main event of UFC 203.
Getting Back To The Title Picture
For Travis Browne, the opportunity to fight Werdum on less than 30 days notice could be a blessing in disguise. As we said, not only will he have the opportunity to get revenge, he will have the chance to shoot right back in the title picture with a victory. Werdum is currently ranked as the Top contender while Browne is at #7. But despite his recent skid, Hapa could vault right back in the Top 5 if he wins.
While Miocic is the champ, the UFC’s Heavyweight division has become a wider field. In the past, it was just dominated by Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos. But because most ( if not all ) of the contenders have punching power, nobody can be counted out. That can be well said about Travis Browne who has 14 KOs in 18 wins. If he can seize this opportunity, he has a shot at finally nailing that elusive title shot.