UFC Middleweight Derek Brunson has trained with many fighters in his long MMA career. The North Carolina native has been a part of many fight camps and does not doubt who he thinks stands out amongst the crowded horizon of elite MMA fighters.
In a recent issue of The Schmozone Podcast, Derek Brunson told hosts Helen Yee and The Schmo that Jon Jones and Kamaru Usman are two fighters who train like real champions and really stand out from the rest in the gym.
"It's funny. I have trained with so many UFC champions, so many top-level athletes just with my time in the game and guys who really stood out were Kamaru Usman and Jon Jones. Jon Jones, for all the stuff that he does outside the cage but when he's in the gym and when he's focussed... you want to talk about the work someone puts in the gym... it's unmatched. I kind of see the exact same thing with Usman. He comes in to get his training and he's there 20-30 minutes before and stays 20-30 minutes after. So those are two guys that really set themselves apart and really train like champions. I trained with GSP and a lot of other guys but those two guys were definitely different," said Derek Brunson.
Considered among the greatest MMA fighters of all time, Jon Jones and Kamaru Usman have been dominant champions in the Light heavyweight and Welterweight divisions respectively. Both men have essentially cleaned out their entire divisions during their respective title reigns.
Reigning Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman formerly trained at Sanford MMA, the gym that Derek Brunson calls home. After his teammate Gilbert Burns' entry into the Welterweight title picture put the two on a collision course, Usman left the gym to train with famed coach Trevor Wittman in Denver, Colorado.
While talking about Kamaru Usman's potential return to the fight camp now that the beef between him and Burns has been squashed, Derek Brunson expressed his wish to see the Nigerian nightmare back in the gym in a rather short answer.
"I wouldn't mind it," Derek Brunson said.
Derek Brunson intends to end another hype train in his next fight
Long considered a gatekeeper in the UFC's Middleweight division, Derek Brunson has seen mixed success in UFC while maintaining a steady position in the lower half of the top ten in the rankings. But following his move to Sanford MMA, the resurgent veteran has stalled many up-and-comers in the tracks including the Glendale Fighting Club standout, Edmen Shahbazyan.
Scheduled to fight No.10 ranked Kevin Holland on UFC Fight Night 188 on March 20, 2021, Derek Brunson intends to end the hype generated by Holland's five-fight win streak in 2020.
"They're all hype trains... in terms of fans rallying behind them. I think Shahbazyan had a little bit higher skillset and is a better overall fighter. But Kevin Holland is confident right now. He's believing in everything he's doing. He thinks he can be a champion which I'm sure Edmen did also. Bt that's my job to go out there and put all those thoughts and dreams away or postpone them at least," Derek Brunson said.