Derek Brunson has racked up plenty of wins inside the Octagon during his five-year run with the promotion, but it seemed that the Jackson-Winkeljohn trained fighter couldn’t get the big signature win when he had the chances.
And he had a couple of opportunities, but came up short against Robert Whittaker and former Middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva, though many felt Brunson could’ve very well earned the nod on the judges’ scorecards.
Nevertheless, after knocking out Lyoto Machida in the very first round in the main event of UFC Fight Night 119 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Brunson obtained that ever-elusive big win over a former champion. With back-to-back wins in his pocket, Brunson wasted no time in looking for his next fight, taking to the mic during the post-win speech to call out Luke Rockhold.
And during the post-fight presser, Brunson further explained why a win over the former Middleweight champion gets him to a title shot.
“He’s a top-level guy,” Brunson said. “He’s one or two in the division. I think it would be a great matchup. I think I could put hands on him, touch that chin one time, I can put him down also.”
“For sure, a win over Rockhold would definitely get me next to the title shot,” Brunson said. “The media sleeps on me a lot, but what I’ve done in the UFC, what I’ve done over my career – I had a controversial decision over Anderson, let’s say I get that win, that takes away a loss. Romero, I was beating him two rounds to zero, I was dominating the whole fight. He was able to catch me with a punch with about a minute left. If I would have just danced around for a minute, I would have got that win. Whittaker, I touched him a lot, he touched me a lot, I rocked him, he rocked me, he was able to get the win.
“So I’ve definitely had a crazy career, but I’m starting to put it together and starting to take my time and know that I can really do some damage if I just slow down just a little bit,” he concluded.
And I like that fight very much, though Luke may not feel the same way.
That’s because Luke firmly has his eyes set on a title fight himself after defeating David Branch in his comeback fight a few weeks ago. The only problem is, after Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre do the dance at UFC 217, the winner will already have his next fight booked against interim title holder Robert Whittaker.
That means waiting for a title fight could easy be a year-long wait for Rockhold. And I really don’t see Luke waiting that long. In the meantime, why not face Brunson, collect a nice paycheck and potentially secure your title shot?
It makes sense on both ends, and I sincerely hope UFC matchmakers see it the same way.
For complete UFC Fight Night 119 results and coverage click here.