The war that almost wasn't. That's what Andrei Arlovski vs. Travis Browne is fast becoming in the post-fight wake of Arlovski's revealed injury woes, and his own admission that he was just about done inside a round against Travis Browne. Still he stuck with it and put on one of the most electrifying performances in recent UFC history including a great comeback to get a huge knockout as a sizable underdog. There's no denying that Arlovski has totally re-invented his career in the UFC, but to hear Dana White tell it, Arlovski almost didn't make it to the cage (transcript via MMA Fighting):
"Two hours before he came out, we didn't think he was going to fight. He popped something in his calf the night before, could barely walk, was limping. The doctors checked him out and I guarantee you, he gritted it out to show the doctors that he could fight. So the doctors said it's up to you, do you want to fight? He said yes.
"Then I had people go get him and bring him to my dressing room and said, ‘Do you want to fight? Are you sure you want to take this fight? You don't have to take this fight.' He looked at me and said, ‘Is this seriously why you just called me back here?' I said yeah. He said, ‘I'm fighting,' and he left my dressing room. And then came out and did that."
As if that weren't enough, Arlovski himself revealed shortly after the fight, that he almost quit again, inside the cage (transcript via Sherdog):
"Man, I was tired. I almost quit. There were so many punches being thrown and I was so tired."
He gave a few more details on his pre-fight injury as well, revealing that it came in his final pre-fight training session when he and his coach decided to go an extra round:
"I hurt my leg during my last workout on Thursday," the former champ revealed. "We finished up training and I told my coach I wanted to go one more round just to test my reactions. We were moving around and he kicked me on the inside of my shin, and I got a little cocky and started dancing around and I felt something in my leg. I thought my coach kicked me again so I asked him, but he said no. I really don't know how it happened, but the UFC doctors were there right away and they took care of me. I'm really grateful for the care they gave me."
Not only did Andrei Arlovski put on one of the greatest fights of his career, and not only did he do it ten years after winning the UFC heavyweight title, but he did it in a fight that he just about decided he couldn't take and that he wouldn't make it through.