Derek Brunson Addresses Backup Situation for UFC 271 Main Event


Houston, TX — Derek Brunson says he feels “weirdly good” heading into UFC 271 in Houston this weekend.

He’s also not overly focused on the possibilities ahead of him. Brunson’s match-up with Jared Cannonier was initially scheduled for January’s UFC 270. Without warning, the bout was pushed back a few weeks, joining another key middleweight fight in Houston: champ Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker.

The reason why is fairly obvious, but Brunson (23-7) touched on it during Wednesday’s media day. “I think they wanted a backup for the title fight,” he told media outlets including Cageside Press. “I didn’t really— normally I would care about it, but I got to spend like 10 more days at home with the family, so I wasn’t arguing too much. I got to each some macaroni and some extra food around the holidays.”

As to whether it would be himself or Cannonier stepping up if one of the main event players dropped out, Brunson himself isn’t even sure. “Nobody hasn’t told me anything, but I figured I would have been first up,” he stated. “But I was just focused on my fight at hand. I figured the fight would go through, both fights would go through so that’s how I’ve been training.”

Nor does he have a preference in opponent if he does get the nod. Despite having lost to Adesanya previously, Brunson said simply that “it don’t matter. Either or.”

Cannonier, likewise, appears to be just another body for “Blonde Brunson,” who has been on a roll of late. The longtime UFC and Strikeforce fighter has won five straight, against an increasingly impressive hit list. Cannonier will be another big name, but as Brunson put it, “he’s just a guy, just another one of these fighters, he comes out and tries to win fights. Tough guy. I know what I do, and I know I’m really good at what I do. So that’s the object here.”

Should he earn a sixth straight win in the UFC’s middleweight division, Brunson would appear to be a shoo-in for another go at “The Last Stylebender.” Of course, a Whittaker win Saturday could lead to a trilogy bout between the two champs; Brunson in that scenario would unfortunately be something of a third wheel.

If that does come to pass, however, the 38-year old has said he’s prepared to wait his turn — and sit out. “Yeah for sure. I’m going to sit and wait for the title fight after I win this fight,” said Brunson when the question was posed to him. “I’ve done everything I need to do in this division. And that’s that.”

Watch the full UFC 271 media day press scrum with Derek Brunson above.


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