This Saturday, middleweight contender Derek Brunson will look to extend his streak to six with a win over Australia’s Robert Whittaker. The two middleweights will share the main event honors of the UFC’s latest trip to Melbourne, Australia, which was originally supposed to be headlined by a rematch between Luke Rockhold and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
Though Brunson is focused on his bout with Whittaker – and is wary of the risks that bout presents – he is already thinking about who he wants if he’s able to win in Australia. If he has his way, his reward for beating Whittaker will be a rematch with top-contender Yoel Romero.
Brunson and Romero first met in January of 2014. On that night Brunson had some success with his takedowns in the first two rounds, but ultimately became a victim of Romero’s absurd power in the third, crumpling under an onslaught of Romero elbows and punches.
The reason that Brunson is so keen on a rematch with Romero is not only because Romero is one of the best middleweights on earth, but also because he doubts Romero was clean at the time of their first meeting.
In early 2016, Romero was flagged for a potential USADA violation. Though this violation was eventually deemed to be the result of Romero’s taking a tainted supplement, it cast doubt on the legitimacy of his success in the eyes of many of his peers – Brunson included.
“I have unfinished business with Romero,” Brunson told MMAJunkie.com. “That’s a guy who had some stuff come up that I didn’t like. I was pretty much dominating this guy. I asked myself after the fight: everybody said, ‘Oh, you need to work on the cardio a little bit.’ I’m like, ‘uh, I don’t know if that’s the cardio.’”
Romero, of course, is likely to take on middleweight champion Michael Bisping sometime in early 2017. Apparently, this fight could occur as early as January. When this fight occurs, Brunson is confident that Romero can win, and he believes he’ll deserve a fight with the new champ even if it means jumping ahead of fellow contenders like Luke Rockhold and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza – both of whom have lost recently.
“I’m looking forward to my rematch – I’ve been very adamant about it,” Brunson continued. “If he has the title, then he – I’m looking for my rematch. When you have guys riding huge winning streaks, you need to be rewarded. When you have guys who lose fights, they need to win a fight or two before they get back to the title shot, even if they’re right there. I don’t think you can get it off one fight.”
Do you like the idea of a Brunson-Romero rematch if Brunson beats Whittaker in Melbourne? Sound off, PENN Nation!