UFC Vegas 36: Derek Brunson discusses alternate options, still prefers waiting for Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker 2 winner

Following his win at UFC Vegas 36, Derek Brunson says he wants to face the best and the toughest challenges at middleweight

It was only a few years ago when Derek Brunson had just lost to the future UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 230. It was his fourth loss in six fights, having also tasted defeat at the hands of Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, then-middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and (controversially) the legendary Anderson Silva.

All of those aren’t bad losses to say, but it seemed that Brunson would be stuck in the gatekeeper role at middleweight. But how times have changed quickly.

Brunson scored a big victory in the main event of UFC Vegas 36, defeating fan favorite Darren Till via third-round submission. It’s his fifth consecutive win, a streak that also features victories over Elias Theodorou and three other hype trains — Ian Heinsich, Edmen Shahbazyan and Kevin Holland.

Derek Brunson discusses win over Darren Till, says injury during training cmap almost delayed fight

Brunson was in complete control over the first two rounds of his fight with Till, using his takedowns and grappling to be on top and dominate, troubling Till at a couple of points with ground-and-pound.

Till, however, worked over Brunson in the third round with his Muay Thai striking and rocked Brunson. Till went for a guillotine, however, and Brunson got him down and to his back, eventually sinking in a rear-naked choke for the win.

“I wasn’t out here lunging for takedowns; I was kind of setting my takedowns up,” Brunson said in his post-fight press conference. “It was predicated off of his striking and overzealousness. So it’s just about maturing and focusing on my wrestling in the camp, how to really make it effortless.

“It wasn’t that bad and then I’m like, ‘Can everybody shut up? And Darren Till, can you stop swarming me right now? I’m not really that hurt.’ But whenever a guy thinks they got you really, really hurt, they’re going to go really strong. But at the same time, I’m trying to bob and weave punches and really slow the onslaught down.”

Till has now lost four of his last five, but all of those fights have come to former champions and big-name contenders at welterweight and middleweight. Brunson even gave Till credit after the fight for his ability, heart and toughness.

“I feel bad for Till, you know, I actually like the guy,” Brunson said. “I feel he’s like a bad*** kid. He says edgy things on Twitter, Instagram, but I think overall, he’s a good person. I mean, he’s like, really, really, really, funny,

“I think the guy can pull it together. It’s small things. He’s really explosive really good on the feet, he has really good things, very confident. It’s just the small things that he needs to adjust, even maybe thinking about 170 or just maybe fine-tuning some of the wrestling things or somebody that defensive [things], because if he’s able to keep it on the feet, he can do a lot better.”

Brunson added that this fight could have been in danger of being pushed back considering he suffered a rib injury during camp.

“I thought I broke my ribs,” Brunson said. “I got kicked in the ribs, like really hard with someone’s toe. This guy is about 240. So it was kind of a bad thing sparring with somebody so heavy when I get my body down to my fight weight and get ready to compete. But, yeah man, I thought I broke my ribs and the last three weeks of the camp, I had to kind of do conditioning hip pads. I took a whole week off, so I only really had like two weeks to prepare. It was a little tough, you know, but that’s part of the fight game.”

Derek Brunson quips on fighting Logan Paul or Jake Paul, won’t rule out Jared Cannonier; says Paulo Costa turned down fight

During his post-fight celebration, Brunson could be heard calling out Adesanya for a rematch. While Adesanya is currently rumored to be next facing Whittaker in their own rematch, targeted for very early 2022, Brunson feels he’s a much different fighter than when he and Adesanya first met.

Brunson also mentioned he’d be willing to wait out for Adesanya-Whittaker 2 to play out before taking another fight, saying “I’m not broke,” which appeared to be a shot at Jared Cannonier, who made such a comment after defeating Kelvin Gastelum a couple of weeks ago.

Brunson isn’t completely ruling a No. 1 contender’s fight with Cannonier out, let alone any options. In fact, Brunson quipped he’d be willing to face Logan Paul or Jake Paul in a “tune-up fight” and claimed that Paulo Costa turned down a fight with him.

But for Brunson, the title shot is obviously the top priority.

“I mean I can use a tune-up with one of the Paul brothers or something; maybe Dana White can loan me to Thriller, where I can fight one of those guys,” Brunson said. “Or maybe I can wait till Israel and Whittaker fight early next year and fight in March or April. We have some options, you know.

“Jared Cannonier isn’t completely off the table. I just I’ve been adamant about asking for the toughest guys in the division. I asked for Paulo Costa. The UFC sent him a contract, he didn’t sign it. So if I would have gotten that fight, I would have been definitely next for the title. I’m doing all this work I definitely want to be rewarded I’ve never got a title shot in my career.”

UFC Vegas 36 took place on Sept. 4, live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided for all your live news and highlights.

Published at Sun, 05 Sep 2021 02:48:18 +0000

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