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Derek Brunson appears to have accepted a fight with Kevin Holland

UFC Fight Night: Brunson v Shahbazyan
UFC Fight Night: Brunson v Shahbazyan
ANALYST
Modified 18 Dec 2020, 05:27 IST
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Derek Brunson has answered Kevin Holland's call-out. Brunson, who is the No. 7 ranked UFC middleweight contender, went on Twitter to reply to the challenge made by Holland after his win against Rodrigo 'Jacare' Souza.

After renewed dares from Holland on social media and interviews, Brunson finally decided to let the UFC fans know about where he stands in an eventual clash with the newly-ranked contender.

Marvin Vettori aside, the high-rising Holland made the second-biggest leap in the latest UFC rankings, jumping five spots. He now sits in tenth place.

Holland explained why he wants to fight Brunson in an interview with ESPN's Ariel Helwani.

"I want to beat Derek Brunson because I don't like the way he strikes. It just looks awkward. It's like a disrespect to striking. It is sad that he has knocked out strikers before with that weird striking."

Apart from his personal beef with Brunson, Holland expressed his wish of having six fights next year - one more than the five times he fought in 2020. In his reasoning, a bout with Brunson makes sense because he is the first step on Holland's way to the UFC middleweight top.

"If Derek Brunson is number seven, I beat Derek Brunson; I'm number seven. Then I beat up number six; I'm number six. Then I beat up number five; I'm number five. I do that all the way to the second contender, that's six fights in a year," concluded Holland. "That's the six fights that I asked for. I'm shooting for six fights next year, not a chain, not a bill, you know? It's like let's break a record one record at a time. We did five fights in seven months. Six fights in 12 months is very possible."

Was Derek Brunson the original target of Kevin Holland's tweet?

Right after Kevin Holland defeated Rodrigo 'Jacare' Souza with an innovative punch coming up from his back in UFC 256, the UFC middleweight contender said he could fight Khamzat Chimaev in this weekend's event.

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Chimaev was set to face Leon Edwards in a welterweight belt in the last UFC performance of the year. But the fight was canceled after Edwards tested positive for, and had a strong case of, COVID-19.

The message that Derek Brunson answered doesn't mention his name - nor does it mention Chimaev's, but fans speculated that the new welterweight sensation was the original target of the tweet, not Brunson.

"PS - crickets from that guy I called out right after the fight."

Fans brought this to Brunson's attention, who quickly replied by mentioning the interview video with Ariel Helwani in which Holland says he wants to fight him.

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If their respective clashes against Souza serves as a parameter to predict the winner in their eventual clash, Holland has the advantage. Since Brunson was defeated by Souza twice, once in Strikeforce and the second time in UFC on Fox 27. Both defeats came via TKO.

As for Chimaev, he posted a tweet saying he will 'come for everybody.' Chimaev doesn't address Holland specifically and appears to have ignored the middleweight challenge.

Published 18 Dec 2020, 05:27 IST
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