Derek Brunson reveals that he cancelled a fight against Antonio Carlos Junior in order to fight Israel Adesanya the first time

Derek Brunson via Instagram @derekbrunson
Derek Brunson via Instagram @derekbrunson
Sayan Nag

Derek Brunson recently scored an emphatic submission victory over Darren Till in the main event at UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs Till. Brunson proceeded to call out UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesnaya for a rematch in his post-fight octagon interview.

The first meeting between Derek Brunson and Israel Adesanya at UFC 230 resulted in a first round TKO loss for Brunson. He has now revealed that he gave up another fight in order to take on 'The Last Stylebender'.

According to Derek Brunson, he was scheduled to fight TUF: Brazil winner Antonio Carlos Junior when Adesanya called him out. While Antonio was a hot prospect, the hype surrounding Adesanya led to a matchup between them instead. Brunson recently told Brett Okamoto of ESPN:

"I was supposed to fight Antonio Carlos Junior. And yeah, he was super hot you know. And the UFC of course, they are gonna scrap that fight to make a me vs. Izzy, you know, we're a pretty important fight. A lot of eyes on that fight. Izzy had a lot of hype coming behind him so yeah they wanted to make that fight. Did I have a contract with Antonio Carlos, like yeah we were set to fight you know."

When Derek Brunson pulled out of his bout against Antonio Carlos Junior

Derek Brunson and Antonio Carlos Junior were originally scheduled to face each other at UFC 227. When Brunson pulled out of the fight due to a "small injury", Antonio questioned his intent on taking the fight.

According to Carlos Junior, Brunson would have had enough time to make a recovery before the fight if it had been a "small injury". He told MMA Fighting in an interview dating back to 2018:

"Brunson pulling out of the fight five weeks before, and then saying it was a small injury. Hold on, there’s something wrong here. I don’t know what his injury was, he said it was an eye issue, but I’m thinking he doesn’t wanna see me. He had plenty of time to recover if it really was something small. The UFC had doctors to make sure you can recover, so he had everything it takes to make sure he can fight on August 4."

After Khabib, Conor and Jon Jones, it's Islam, O'Malley and Izzy. Follow them here!

Edited by Jack Cunningham
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