To say this weekend is a very busy weekend for mixed martial arts fans would be an understatement. The UFC will be making its debut in beautiful Mexico City, while Bellator will hold arguably its biggest card to date. In the midst of all this action, the World Series of Fighting will also provide us with one of the best cards it can put together, featuring a total of three world title fights.
Though David Branch, whose record currently stands at 14-3, rides four-fight winning streak inside the promotion and enters this middleweight title fight as the champion, most of the attention has gone to his challenger, former UFC middleweight contender Yushin Okami.
“I don’t even care about that. I’m just going in there to hurt this guy. Everything else doesn’t matter,” Branch told Combat Press.
Ask most folks about this card and the overall census seems to be the same. They’ll tell you Yushin Okami is headlining the card. It has been a long road for Branch to get to where he is today, and he is not ready to let any of that talk affect him in any way heading into this bout. He understands what a win over Okami can do for his career in the long run, and he instead chooses to focus on that subject.
“It puts me in a better position as far as my career. Fighting a guy like him is great for my career. I think my last fight, winning the title, was the crowning moment in my career, and beating Okami will just be another step to achieving greatness,” explained the New York native. “I’m a champion, so I’ll accept all comers.”
Fighting Okami can be a daunting task for most fighters. He’s an experienced veteran with a 30-8 mark, and his now infamous grinding style can be impossible to overcome for many middleweights. Fighters know what is coming and Okami is still able to execute and usually manages to drag the fight to his world. Just like most of Okami’s past opponents, Branch will have to be ready for the type of pressure Okami puts on his opponents and not allow the Japanese fighter to play by his own rules.
“I’m not really worried about what he is going to do,” admitted Branch. “I’m going to go out there and impose my game [and] do what I have to do to finish the fight. I know what I have to do. I just have to go out there and go get it done.”
This will be Branch’s first title defense since winning the strap in June against the very game Jesse Taylor, who was on a seven-fight winning streak heading into their bout. It is often said that you are not the champion until you defend your belt, but this is a notion that Branch doesn’t live by. His love for mixed martial arts and his journey in life are more important than validating some of his accomplishments inside the cage.
“I’m doing [MMA] because of the love—my passion for fighting and my passion for what I’ve been through in my life,” Branch explained. “Whatever else comes is just going to come with it, but I am not doing it for that.”