Travis Browne knocks out Josh Barnett in heavyweight rumble

Travis Browne’s climb towards the top continues. The Hawaiian heavyweight who only took up MMA about five years ago, scored his most significant victory to date in a most emphatic way, knocking out Josh Barnett in a UFC 168 main card matchup.

If the result wasn’t a stunner, the speed of it was. Browne only needed 60 seconds to stop the durable MMA veteran.

The end came as Barnett went low for the takedown. Browne caught him with a knee under the left eye that busted Barnett open, and he followed with a series of standing elbows that left Barnett limp. The elbow strikes were reminiscent of the ones that knocked out Gabriel Gonzaga earlier this year.

“Just remember I’m only a striker,” Browne said with a smile. “We have a good wrestler here, he couldn't take my ass down. I’m an MMA fighter. There’s a new breed. I’m coming for you.”

Browne may be as little as one win away from fighting for the belt. The UFC wants to set him up with Fabricio Werdum. So far, Werdum has been resistant to the idea of putting his No. 1 contender spot on the line, but UFC officials are confident that he will eventually take the fight.

“Looks like me and Werdum have a date,” Browne said. “Let’s go sweetheart, whenever you’re ready.”

Browne, who came into the Barnett fight as a slight underdog, now has consecutive first-round knockouts of Barnett, Alistair Overeem and Gonzaga. He’s 16-1-1 overall, with his only loss coming after suffering a torn hamstring during a fight with Antonio Silva.

Barnett fell to 33-7.

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