Brunson continued his exceptional form at UFC Vegas 36 this past weekend. On a European-heavy card, the 37-year-old met England’s Darren Till in the main event. Despite many touting “The Gorilla” to be the biggest challenge left for the current UFC Middleweight Champion, it was Brunson who jumped one step closer to a meeting inside the Octagon with “The Last Stylebender.”
After taking down Till with relative ease, Brunson proceeded to beat up the Liverpudlian with some brutal ground-and-pound. Despite taking a heavy shot in the third frame, the North Carolina avoided the incoming onslaught from Till by forcing the fight back to his wheelhouse. After taking the Englishman’s back, a rear-naked choke forced the tap, and in doing so, extended Brunson’s winning streak to five.
Despite many branding him as a gatekeeper after his decisive loss to Adesanya in 2018, Brunson brought himself back into contention with victories over Elias Theodorou, Ian Heinisch, Edmen Shahbazyan, and Kevin Holland. His latest headlining win has left him well and truly in the title conversation.
Having gone 3-0 since dying his hair blonde, “Blonde Brunson” has looked unstoppable. Speaking during the UFC Vegas 36 post-fight press conference, the #5-ranked middleweight said the look is here to stay.
“Yeah, absolutely. Blonde Brunson is no mythical character. It’s here to stay, and we’re performing well.”
Having announced his intention to sit out and wait for his title shot, Brunson spoke about how a second clash with the champ would go. According to the veteran, he’d pose a threat to Adesanya wherever the fight goes.
“Just really taking my time. This camp, I wasn’t as sharp as I like to be with standup. My standup is a lot better than I was able to show tonight. I was able to get a few things off on the feet, came with an uppercut. And I saw some openings, but I’d like to be sharper. I was injured for like the last three weeks of this camp. So I think with that time to spar and really prepare, then my standup is looking really good, and I can really pose a threat to Izzy on the feet and definitely on the ground.”
Brunson and Adesanya first met at UFC 230 back in November 2018. In the very first round, the Nigerian-New Zealander finished Brunson by way of a TKO. Having improved exponentially, the American believes he can pose a much bigger challenge for Adesanya in his current form.
After Brunson called out the champ post-fight, “The Last Stylebender” took to Twitter to respond. In classic fashion, Adesanya shared a clip of his victory over Brunson, and branded the 37-year-old a “bum.”
Having defeated Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and Kelvin Gastelum since losing his title, Robert Whittaker looks certain to be Adesanya’s next title challenger. But after that rematch goes down, likely in early 2022, Brunson looks set to get his first crack at UFC gold against the victor.
Do you think blonde Derek Brunson has what it takes to become the first man to beat Israel Adesanya at middleweight?