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Morning Report: Travis Browne says Derrick Lewis calling him out makes this fight 'personal'

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After his uninspiring fourth-round TKO of Shamil Abdurakhimov at UFC Fight Night: Albany a couple of weeks ago, Derrick Lewis was highly critical of his performance, calling it one of his "terriblest fights of all time" and apologizing to the fans for his poor showing. When Jon Anik asked him who he would like to fight next, Lewis responded that he had intended to call out Travis Browne or Mark Hunt but that after his performance that night, he was going to "sit his a** down." And while that's not exactly a call out of Browne, that's not stopping Browne from taking it as an insult heading into their fight at UFC 208.

Speaking with ESPN recently, Browne said he viewed being the guy a young up and comer wants to fight as about as personal as someone can get.

"He's looking up and down the top 10 for the easiest fight and choosing my name. I don't know how much more personal it gets than that. I'm not usually one to talk trash, and I do respect him as a fighter, but you want to test yourself, buddy? I'm your man. I'll show you what this s**t is all about up here."

Perhaps Browne is upset because Lewis wasn't the only rising heavyweight prospect who called him out that night. Francis Ngannou, who impressed with a sensational submission victory over Anthony Hamilton in the co-main event that evening, also called out both Browne and Hunt along with Andrei Arlovski in his post-fight interview. Getting called out by every rising fighter has to get a bit tiresome.

It probably also doesn't help that the two fighters are seemingly trending in different directions. Lewis is currently riding a five-fight win streak, the longest in the division whereas Browne is in the middle of a rough patch in his career, losing his last two in a row and four of his last six fights dating back to 2014. His most recent loss was in a rematch with Fabricio Werdum, a loss he blames in part on a disgusting finger dislocation he suffered early in the bout.

"That was the weirdest sensation I've ever had in a fight. I looked down and saw a bone popping out of my hand. When that happens, and there's a dude trying to take your head off, I didn't know what to do. I got a timeout I maybe wasn't supposed to. I don't know what to tell you.

"Going into that fight, I was ready to f**king scrap, get down, ugly, go after it. And then that weird s**t happens, it took the wind out of my sails."

The bout was stopped so Browne could see a ringside doctor and should have been stopped right there. Instead, the bout was allowed to resume but the result ended up being the same, with Browne never able to generate much significant offense after the injury.

And that's been one of the problems for Browne since he left Jackson-Wink MMA in 2014, consistently generating offense. Browne is 2-3 since leaving the gym that got him on the precipice of a title shot and many of his losses have been characterized by what looks like a lack of urgency. Browne says the camp switch was too improve his boxing skills but that in so doing he may have also forgotten to use his other tools which has been a problem.

"It's time to use what I've learned but still incorporate more of my game," Browne said. "Whatever strikes I need to throw, I need to let them go. I remember in the Cain [Velasquez fight], I was thinking, 'I should throw a kick. I should throw a kick,' and I just didn't."

Be that as it may, he intends to continue his work at the Glendale Fighting Club while adding in some new training partners and hopefully expanding his coaching assistance as well. It's a decision that has real stakes behind it. Another loss puts Browne dangerously close to getting cut from the UFC. At the minimum, it would possibly drop him off the rankings entirely make it difficult for him to earn his way to a title shot that many suspected he would eventually get when he was one of the hottest heavyweight prospects in the game. But Browne is unconcerned by all that. He says this is all part of his development and that one day those visions will prove true.

"I didn't come from wrestling. I didn't come from boxing or kickboxing. These are my growing pains and you're seeing me develop on the biggest stage against the best of the best. I feel the best is yet to come. Keep doubting me. Please keep doubting me. I will give you something to be upset about if you doubt me."

Browne will have the opportunity to prove those doubters wrong when takes on Lewis at UFC 208 on Feb. 11 in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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MUST-READ STORIES

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Projecting. Cody Garbrandt believes Dominick Cruz is projecting when he brings up concussions.

Unfazed. Holly Holm isn't bothered by the absence of Cris Cyborg from the 145 lb. title fight.

Nah. Dan Hardy appreciates the call out but rejects Mickey Gall's invitation to fight.

Live to fight another day. Cub Swanson wishes Doo Ho Choi's corner had thrown in the towel.

Shame. UFC on Fox 22 salaries are out with Sage Northcutt and Urijah Faber leading the way.

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MEDIA STEW

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Free fight, Cruz-Faber 3.

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And Garbrandt during that fight.

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Garbrandt on Jay and Dan.

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Holly Holm on Hot 97.

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TTTHS.

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It's apparently Cody Garbrandt day on YouTube.

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LISTEN UP

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Beatdown with Ray Sefo.

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Severe MMA.

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Show the Art.

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TWEETS

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Jonny Bones trying to get his grapple on.

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Well done.

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Met "Da Diaz" brothers in 2004 at the finish line of my then GF's triathlon. We exchanged numbers and the next week Nick brought his 209 crew up to my summer job at The Hitchcock Azevedo wrestling camp to lock horns, be humble, learn and teach. I've seen these guys misunderstood, have highs and lows (much like myself), be villians be heroes and become legends! Little did i know we would be pioneers that help put Nor-cal on the mma and world map together, exchange greetings on holidays, have business Ventures together @torque1_net and grow up as individuals. The "Diaz middle finger" and Cali Kid "hi mom" all come from the same place. Thanks for the friendship along the way! I appreciate the alliance! @teamalphamalemma @diazbrothers_209 @nickdiaz209 @natediaz209 #916 #209 #530 #707 #whoswhonetwork building from the ground up!

A photo posted by Urijah Faber (@urijahfaber) on 

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#FearTheReturn #dec30 #rouseyvsnunes #ufc207 pic by @ewillphoto

A photo posted by rondarousey (@rondarousey) on 

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

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Paul Felder (12-3) vs. Gilbert Burns (11-2)UFC 208, February 11.

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TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

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2014: Lyoto Machida stopped C.B. Dollaway with a body kick and punches in the main event of UFC Fight Night 58. It is at this point the final victory of his career.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

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Have a great Tuesday y'all and see you tomorrow.

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If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.