In the build-up to the event, I had the pleasure of speaking to Derek Brunson himself as part of the UFC Vegas 5 virtual media day. While speaking to the #8 ranked UFC Middleweight, I asked Brunson how things have played out for him in the lead-up to the fight in the middle of a pandemic, if the long Octagon lay-off affects his gameplan mentally, and if he has an ideal opponent in mind for his next fight.
You can check out Derek Brunson's comments from the 3:48 mark (Courtesy: MMA Fighting)
Derek Brunson on how different this fight feels amid a global pandemic
Derek Brunson is a veteran of the fight game and while speaking to him, I asked if this fight against Edmen Shahbazyan feels different to him, especially considering everything that's going on with the global pandemic.
Brunson noted that the pandemic has been going on for a while and his main focus remains on preparing for this fight. He also added that a couple of years from now on, nobody will remember the "covidness" going on and will remember the results of the fight.
"We had the pandemic going on but people don't really care about that, you know, considering the fight. So that's my main focus, is to do what I can prepare as I'm supposed to because a couple of years from now nobody is gonna remember the 'oh, the covid was going on' whatever, whatever. Thery're gonna remember the results of the fight, how you perform, how it looks, so I'm just taking all the excuses out and really focusing on the fight."
Derek Brunson on how potential ring-rust
Derek Brunson and Edmen Shahbazyan were initially set to fight at UFC 248, however, the fight was canceled on two different occasions and now that it finally is taking place at UFC Vegas 5, this will be Brunson's long-term return to the Octagon.
"Nah, I've been in this game for a while so having a long lay-off really doesn't bother me, I know some people say something about ring rust but I don't really believe in that too much you know. When you're getting good training, good sparring, you go into a fight it's the exact same thing, so I feel ready and prepared for the fight."
Derek Brunson on a potential opponent for his next fight if he wins this one
Derek Brunson has shared the Octagon with several UFC fighters in the past, however, I asked him if he has a potential fight in mind, if he walks out with the win over Edmen Shahbazyan.
"At this point it's just one fight at a time for me, you know. I won my previous two and I need to keep chipping away so that's kinda my focus and drive right now is just take care of that fight that's in front of me and then after the fight we'll start looking for that next fight."
Derek Brunson vs Edmen Shahbazyan at UFC Vegas 5
Derek Brunson and Edmen Shahbazyan will collide in a three-round main event fight, given the fight was promoted to the main event slot at the very last minute after the cancellation of the Holly Holm vs Irene Aldana bout.Published 02 Aug 2020, 02:16 IST