LOS ANGELES -- Last time Travis Browne stepped into the cage, things got personal.
After Brendan Schaub trash talked Browne heading into their UFC 181 fight, the usually affable Browne went into beast mode and gave Schaub a beating so severe, Joe Rogan told him to retire afterwards.
"I just wanted him to know he was my little bitch," Browne said Monday. "So I was grabbing both of his hands with one hand and pinning them over his head, you know what I mean? Just looking for my right hand to shove it down his throat."
Browne and Arlovski are friends and former training partners who pushed one another to be their best in the gym.
Recalling Arlovski's valor in a losing effort against Anthony Johnson in World Series of Fighting, Browne went so far as to call Arlvoski his "hero."
"I've shared blood, sweat and tears with that guy," said Browne, who cornered Arlovski in the March 2013 bout. "When he fought Anthony Johnson, in between rounds, I went over and picked his tooth up off the mat because he broke his jaw. you know what I mean? I was literally in his corner screaming for him. When you're that close with somebody, you're sharing a piece of that person. That's him as a warrior."
"He's a warrior through and through, man," Browne continued. "You should have seen his jaw in that fight. It was shoved back in the back of his throat. And he fought for two rounds like that, and won the last round. It's like, holy s---, that guy's a warrior. I saw him in the back afterwards, and I'm like "you're my hero right now. You're my f------ hero."
That said, this is still a sport, and at times it builds the weird sort of camaraderie that only those who have punched each other in the face in order to help one another can understand.
Browne and Arlovski discussed the possibility they could cross paths years back, when Arlovski had just arrived at Jackson's and was spending his nights sleeping on Browne's couch.
"Whether you're my friend or my enemy, I'm going out there to do my job," said Browne, who is now affiliated with the Glendale Fighting Club. "That's something Andrei and I were talking about when he was living in my house. Before he signed with the UFC, I said, ‘we may as well make some money doing what we're doing in the gym, you know?' He said, ‘okay, only for the title or big money.' I said, ‘either way, it doesn't matter to me. we're punching each other in the face anyway.' So let's go out there and put on a show."