Derek Brunson is ready to step into the title fight at UFC 271.
Derek Brunson has his next matchup all set to go, as he will be taking on Jared Cannonier at UFC 271 next weekend. That matchup could potentially decide the next title contender. However, Brunson may not need to wait that long.
Brunson revealed to MMA Junkie that he will be serving as the unofficial backup to the title fight between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker who are headlining that card.
The bout between Brunson and Cannonier was originally slated for UFC 270 that took place in January. The fight was switched to Feb 12. card at the last minute, and Brunson has now explained why he believes that is.
“The UFC, I think they just wanted backups for the title fight in case someone went down, got injured, they have two guys, ’85-ers, #3- and #4-ranked guys that can jump in for a title shot,” Brunson said.
Brunson is coming into this fight at UFC 271 having won his last five in the middleweight division. He is ranked fourth behind Cannonier, Marvin Vettori, and Whittaker. Even though he is ranked behind Cannonier, he could very well be the one to fill in since Cannonier recently lost to Whittaker. This is all subject to something going wrong with either Adesanya or Whittaker on that day. Either way, Brunson will be ready if his name is called.
“For sure, I have been waiting for an opportunity, five in a row, I’ve been waiting for that title shot. So if the opportunity comes up, for sure,” he explained.
Being able to jump right into a title fight situation would be ideal for Brunson. It would save him the trouble of having to beat Cannonier, which is a steep task. Cannonier is 3-1 in his last four, and since making his debut at middleweight, he has only lost to the former champ Whittaker. Cannonier holds wins over names like Anderson Silva and Kelvin Gastelum.
How do you think Brunson would fare against either Adesanya or Whittaker in a fill-in situation?
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