Two-division World Series of Fighting Champion David Branch is parting ways with the promotion to test free agency.
In an appearance on today’s edition of “The MMA Hour,” Branch confirmed rumors that he has fought his last fight for WSOF looking for greener pastures.
“It’s time for me go and just do bigger things,” he said to Ariel Helwani. “It’s time for me to have bigger challenges for myself, there’s no more challenges left for me with WSOF. I’ve just accomplished everything that there is for me to do there.”
Branch also shared that he asked for and was granted a release from the company rather than just wait for his contract to run up. He explained that there were some issues between himself and the company. “I think it was about time for me and the company to just split ways. There was some misunderstandings that happened, and as a result of those misunderstandings it was best for me to be released and stuff like that.”
Branch was the reigning WSOF middleweight and light heavyweight champion at the time of his release, having most recently fought on New Year’s Eve, defending his 185 lb title against Louis Taylor.
Branch has fought for both Bellator and UFC in the past. Branch fought two fights in the early days of Bellator in 2009 and 2010, both wins, before moving on to UFC where he suffered his first career loss to Gerald Harris at UFC 116 in July 2010. Branch went on to fight three more times in the next 8 months, winning two of those bouts but was let go after a submission loss to Rousimar Palhares in March of 2011.
While no contract is signed, it sounds like Branch is looking to make another run at UFC success.
“I’m 35 years old right now and at the end of this whole fighting career, and I’m a two-division champion and all that — but people will always say, ‘well he didn’t do it in the UFC.’ Well you know, here’s the deal. I’m a free agent now. People have been saying for years that I’m the best fighter on the outside of the UFC. I disagree. I believe that I’m the best fighter in the world. And I think that now is my opportunity to be able to prove that.”
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Branch is definitely one of the best fighters outside of UFC at the moment. He’s one of only seven non-UFC fighters currently ranked in the MMATorch top 10 in any division (#9 middleweight, the others being Ben Askren, Michael Chandler, Daniel Straus, Marlon Moraes, Eduardo Dantas, and Tonya Evinger). On top of that, middleweight is one of the more stacked divisions in the sport right now so that’s an impressive accomplishment. At his age, if he can get a UFC contract, he’s smart to get out of his deal with WSOF and have a go at it. It’s going to be touch for him to work his way up to a title shot but he will at least be able to get fights against some name fighters and make decent money while he still can. He likely saw the writing on the wall, as WSOF appears to be in a bad financial position, after some court documents leaked recently that said WSOF “formerly promoted professional events in the sport of mixed martial arts.” Nonetheless, UFC is the best place for Branch right now as a move to Bellator will just see him in a similar position being a big fish in a small pond, where it sounds like he’s ready to swim with the sharks, as they say.
MONDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Stipe Miocic vs. Junior dos Santos is official for UFC 211 from Dallas on May 13. (SOURCE)
-Daniel Omielanczuk has been found not to be at fault after a USADA investigation into his failed test for meldonium last year. Omielanczuk was able to prove that he only took the drug from August to September 2015, and it was only added to the banned substance list in January 2016. The concentration of the drug was low enough to where USADA found that he was likely not to have taken the drug after January 2016. He of course, will face no suspension.
-The full Countdown to UFC 208 video is available HERE.
-UFC has been making some boycott lists of companies that support U.S. President Donald Trump. UFC’s inclusion appears to be because Dana White spoke at the Republican National Convention last year.
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