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UFC middleweight Derek Brunson admits wrong approach to Robert Whittaker fight

Robert Whittaker takes questions during a UFC 221 media opportunity
Robert Whittaker takes questions during a UFC 221 media opportunity
Modified 19 Nov 2020, 15:40 IST

UFC middlweight contender Derek Brunson has admitted that his game plan against Robert Whittaker was poor when they last fought back in 2016. Brunson, who was on a four-fight win streak when he met Whittaker in the middleweight division, lost in the first round. 

Derek Brunson rushed into Whittaker without setting up his shots, allowing the latter to drop him with a left hook. Whittaker went on to finish the fight with his signature jab and high-kick combination from the orthodox stance. 

Derek Brunson, who's currently on a three-fight winning run, has called out the former champion for a rematch:

"I can’t get a fight with someone who’s surging. Robert Whittaker what you say we run it back, 4 years later. That first fight was disrespectful. I tried to bully you and that didn’t work. "

Derek Brunson calls for Robert Whittaker rematch 

Derek Brunson punches Edmen Shahbazyan 
Derek Brunson punches Edmen Shahbazyan 

Derek Brunson is one of the better offensive wrestlers in the middleweight division. However, the 36-year-old's rudimentary striking and lack of a game plan cost him against top contenders such as Whittaker, Anderson Silva, Ronaldo Souza, and Israel Adesanya. 

Derek Brunson has previously beaten Elias Theodorou, Ian Heinisch and contender Edmen Shahbazyan, all top prospects in the division.

The Wilmington native changed his camp to Hard Knocks 365 ahead of the fight against Theodorou, and has not looked back since. Speaking after the fight in 2019, Brunson remarked:

"I switched up my training camp and moved to Hard Knocks 365. I think that made a big difference in this fight. They prepared me so well down there and told me exactly what he was going to do, so I felt confident coming in here."

In the fight against Shahbazyan, Brunson mixed up his striking and wrestling seamlessly, finishing his opponent at the beginning of the third round. However, given he's ranked #7 in the world, a fight against Brunson won't do a lot for Whittaker.

Whittaker has defeated Darren Till and Jared Cannonier in his two fights since losing the title to Israel Adesanya, placing himself in a position for another title shot. However, with Adesanya teasing a move up to light heavyweight, it remains to be seen what the future holds for the Australian.

Published 19 Nov 2020, 15:40 IST
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