Browne’s laid-back style and warrior spirit is a juxtaposition that fits in well with the Zen-like atmosphere of Jackson and Winklejohn’s.
“It was the perfect fit for me,” Browne said. “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.”
“Heat-seeking knees” was the response.
“I try to do different stuff for every camp,” Browne said. “Always add something you can use. Train smarter, harder.”
He will have to first get through Barnett, a grizzled 16-year MMA veteran who has fought wars in nearly every fight league that’s existed -- Pride, Pancrase, Affliction, Dream, Sengoku, Strikeforce -- and held the UFC heavyweight title in 2002 after defeating Randy Couture.
Barnett is an oppressive grappler, with 20 wins by a multitude of submissions. He also is a devastating striker, as evidenced by his most recent demolition of Frank Mir at UFC 164. In many ways, Barnett contrasts with Browne like day and night. If Browne is a lover and a fighter, the fighter part will have his work cut out for him.
At 6-foot-7, Browne’s length and 79-inch reach gives him some safe distance to gauge Barnett’s striking. However, in the clinch there are few better than Barnett. That’s fine with Browne.
“I want to be the best and fight the best. I have momentum now,” Browne said. “To stop me, my opponent is going to have to finish me to win.”